Respectful Insolence

Maybe I was wrong.

I praised the decision of Judge Rodenberg last Friday, in which he placed chemotherapy refusenik Daniel Hauser in the custody of his parents and ordered them to take him to an oncologist and have him undergo repeat staging studies in order to determine the extent of his Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I did mention my one reservation was that leaving Daniel in the custody of his mother did run the risk of their fleeing to avoid the court order. Unfortunately, shades of Katie Wernecke, that’s exactly what they appear to have done:

Daniel Hauser and his parents, Colleen and Anthony Hauser, were to appear in Tuesday in the southern Minnesota city of New Ulm. A judge had ordered the boy to undergo a chest X-ray to see how his Hodgkins lymphoma was progressing.

But only Anthony Hauser appeared in court. He testified that he last saw his wife and son on Monday morning.

He said his wife told him she was going to leave and “That’s all you need to know.”

This is, of course, disastrous for Daniel, as there is no way of knowing how long it will take for child protection authorities to find them. Meanwhile, his tumors are growing. It also makes me wonder if Anthony Hauser agrees with his wife and her decision to support Daniel’s rejection of chemotherapy, given that he didn’t go with them. I’m having a hard time deciding if he’s an accessory or simply unable or unwilling to challenge his wife on this. Either way, the path is clear now. When Daniel is found, now there will be no choice but to take him the custody of his parents.

My only fear now is that the Judge will broker some sort of dubious “compromise,” as was done in the case of Katie Wernecke, allowing her to travel to Kansas to undergo high dose vitamin C therapy, or Abraham Cherrix, who was allowed to accept a highly questionable and dubious form of “immunotherapy” in addition to radiation therapy and instead of chemotherapy.

ADDENDUM: More details have come to light:

Dr. James Joyce, the Hauser’s family physician, testified today that he had taken an x-ray of Daniel Monday, which showed that his tumor had grown back to its original size.

Joyce said he gave Colleen Hauser the names of three oncologists, but she declined to take them.

Judge Rodenberg has issued an arrest warrant for Colleen Hauser and ordered that Daniel be put into foster care and immediately evaluated by a pediatric oncologist when he is found.

It doesn’t look good for Daniel. Precious time has been wasted, and his chances of survival decrease the more time passes and the larger his tumors grow. It’s quite possible that, if Colleen can avoid the law long enough, it won’t matter what treatments Daniel has any more. His tumor will have grown too much. Not will his chance at a complete remission decrease, but it could end up requiring a much harsher treatment, a bone marrow transplant, to achieve it.

Of course, if Daniel dies, the alt-med enablers who facilitated his death will blame the initial course of chemotherapy and the stress of the court, rather than admit that their woo doesn’t work and they led him to his death.

Orac’s commentary

  1. Another child sacrificing himself on the altar of irrational belief
  2. Daniel Hauser and his rejection of chemotherapy: Is religion the driving force or just a convenient excuse?
  3. Judge John Rodenberg gives chemotherapy refusenik Daniel Hauser a chance to live
  4. Mike Adams brings home the crazy over the Daniel Hauser case
  5. The case of chemotherapy refusenik Daniel Hauser: I was afraid of this
  6. Chemotherapy versus death from cancer
  7. Chemotherapy refusenik Daniel Hauser: On the way to Mexico with his mother?
  8. An astoundingly inaccurate headline about the Daniel Hauser case
  9. Good news for Daniel Hauser!
  10. Daniel Hauser, fundraising, and “health freedom”

Comments

  1. #1 Scott
    May 19, 2009

    The father may be staying around to take care of the other kids. So he might well be in full agreement. Too little information to tell, really, since he’s been so silent up till now.

  2. #2 luna1580
    May 19, 2009

    scott, good points. daniel is only one of 8 total kids and a dairy farm that his parents are responsible for. having 10 people on the run and no one tending the cows probably wasn’t an option.

    this is extremely disturbing. if this contributes to daniel’s death, i feel his mother should be tried for criminal negligence and any other charges that could possibly stick (and the father for whatever role he is actually playing here.) this is terrible.

  3. #3 Phoenix Woman
    May 19, 2009

    Sigh. Alas, the judge probably knew this would happen, but probably also felt that the family might have a good enough (and unscrupulous enough) lawyer to be willing to fight having Daniel taken from them — which in itself would delay his treatment.

  4. #4 Jennifer B. Phillips (aka Danio)
    May 19, 2009

    That’s what I was thinking too, Scott–much easier to go on the lam with two than with ten.

    The attitude of the parents here is baffling and enraging. I weep for this poor kid.

  5. #5 Zach Miller
    May 19, 2009

    This is turning into a soap opera!

  6. #6 Phoenix Woman
    May 19, 2009

    That particular Katie Wernecke may actually still be alive:

    http://www.recordstar.com/articles/2009/05/14/local_news/local03.txt

  7. #7 dean
    May 19, 2009

    Phoenix Woman – in this “… (and unscrupulous enough) …” I think you meant “scrupulous”. Apparently Daniel’s court-appointed lawyer had now suggested custody be turned over to the state (obviously when the boy is found). Without evidence to the contrary I’d say the woman did this without telling the lawyer. It’s time for me to stop typing before I write what I think of her.

  8. #8 Calli Arcale
    May 19, 2009

    Strib has a more complete article now:
    Arrest warrant issued for mother of boy resisting chemo

    The boy did actually make his scheduled x-ray appointment yesterday, it turns out — the oncologist involved appeared in court. Sadly, the tumor has grown back to its original size. When he observed that, he gave the mother three names of oncologists, but she refused to take the list.

  9. #9 luna1580
    May 19, 2009

    it’s pretty telling that the star-tribune has no comment section available for this story. no matter what opinion someone holds about what should be happening to this boy, everyone is angry.

    i wonder how long it will take to find them?

  10. #10 Anthro
    May 19, 2009

    Something has to be done on a larger scale to prevent this sort of thing. Kids all over the country are not being vaccinated, being stuffed full of echinacha (sp?), and a myriad of other herbs, vitamins and so on. They are being taken to naturopaths, acupuncturists, shamans and all manner of completely unorthodox “therapists”. They are being taught to distrust doctors, pharmaceuticals and hospitals. Parents have rights, of course, but this is becoming dangerous in a number of ways. 1) Children could be harmed by mega doses of substances 2) They could be prevented from getting necessary treatment which could lead to serious illness, or death; and 3) They are putting others at risk, such as children who cannot have vaccinations for bona fide medical reasons–who will be totally exposed when there are outbreaks of diseases in unvaccinated communities.

    This isn’t inclusive or terribly well-written, but I think the main point is worth pursuing. We cannot just sit here and express concern over Daniel’s situation (which is now in the hands of the police!), we have to begin to formulate a more formal response to this entire phenomenon. I’m not panicking, but I AM deeply concerned and have been for some time, which is why I read this blog and JREF’s and listen to QuakCast. Maybe I should stop?

  11. #11 goatgirl
    May 19, 2009

    I was afraid of this too. But the judge gave them every chance to cooperate, so no one can criticize the authorities now for being too heavy-handed with this family.

    I second what Scott said. Dairy cows have to be milked once or twice daily, seven days a week. According to Daniel’s testimony earlier this month, the mom and the two oldest girls helped with the milking – so apparently they don’t have a hired hand on the farm, and they have 100 head of dairy cattle. That’s a lot of cows to care for.

    The seven remaining kids are ages 16 years to 16 months. So the mom has basically abandoned a toddler, not to mention all the other kids. I wouldn’t be surprised if they lose custody of some of their other kids as well.

    Having had a non-Hodgkins tumor in my chest, I know what’s likely in store for this kid if his disease progresses. The sense of suffocation from the SVC syndrome was overwhelming; I’ll never forget it. I was so sick that the chemotherapy was actually a relief because it made me feel better.

    Up until now I had a fair amount of sympathy for this family. Not that I agreed with the horrendous decisions they’ve been making, but I could understand a little bit how they might feel. Going on the run, though – that’s pretty much eradicated any sympathy I had left.

  12. #12 sam
    May 19, 2009

    Won’t she have to take him to a doctor at some point to have the port flushed? When I had a port-a-cath, they were EXTREMELY strict about having the port flushed with heparin every 30 days, even when I wasn’t using it (that is, I had to have extra appointments just to have it flushed). This was to prevent dangerous clots. The boy has already had some sort of blood clot. I don’t know if that means he’s prone to them or if it was just a circumstantial thing, but even if the cancer won’t kill him immediately, if I were his mother, I’d be worried about having a dangerous blood clot. OTOH, I’m not a doctor. But I was certainly under the impression that a port can cause a lot of problems if you don’t take care of it + see a doctor.

    I’m not sure that it’ll be that hard to find them though. Without substantial cash reserves, it’s hard to go somewhere where no one will find you. Family + friends are easily located, their phone records can be tracked to see who she called, and as soon as she uses an ATM or credit card, the cops will know. Of course, that assumes that someone in the PD is taking this seriously.

  13. #13 goatgirl
    May 19, 2009

    P.S. Orac, the dad is indeed an accessory. He knew last night already that she and Daniel were fleeing, and he did not notify the authorities.

  14. #14 Lee
    May 19, 2009

    A thirteen year old girl wants an abortion – it’s a choice. A thirteen year old boy does not want chemo – it’s not a choice. A bit of a disconnect. What happened to ‘it’s their body’. Chemo sometimes works, but it is poison – and every person should be able to choose it or not. It definitely should NOT be everybody else but that person choosing.

    Because you would try it or try it on your kids does not make it right for everyone else. Has freedom been trumped by medical nazis in your part of the country. Doctors are smart but not smart enough to take away your decision making.

  15. #15 Kimbo Jones
    May 19, 2009

    “He testified that he last saw his wife and son on Monday morning.”

    That was just…chilling.

  16. #16 Robert Holmen
    May 19, 2009

    Wow, Lee,that’s a pretty radical position to take. You would allow a thirteen year old boy, illiterate by some accounts, to substitute his judgment in place of the unanimous panel of doctors? You call the doctors and authorities “medical nazis?” Your attitude is nearly as chilling as the story.

  17. #17 Orac
    May 19, 2009

    A thirteen year old girl wants an abortion – it’s a choice. A thirteen year old boy does not want chemo – it’s not a choice.

    Actually, I’m probably going to get into huge trouble by saying this, but I have serious problems letting 13-year-old girls choose to have an abortion without parental permission if they want it.

  18. #18 Kimbo Jones
    May 19, 2009

    Lee, technically the 13 y.o. girl could not consent to having sex in the first place because of the failure to comprehend the consequences. A 13 y.o. boy brainwashed by his mother has little “choice” either. He also has limited capacity to understand the consequences of refusing treatment. He is essentially having sex without a condom to treat his cancer. It’s dangerous, and apparently ineffective as has been demonstrated by the regrowth of his tumor.

    If he fully understood the consequences and chose to die, that would be one thing. But he does not believe he is sick and believes that the chemo is hurting him. Evidence says otherwise. No, this child is not making an “informed choice”, neither is his mother. In the eyes of the law a child’s welfare is paramount and that is why the decision was made in court to have him treated. TO SAVE HIS FRIGGING LIFE!

  19. #19 Lee
    May 19, 2009

    Robert, what do you call people who want to practice medicine on unwilling patients? This thirteen year old may not be too good at evaluating the odds, but the fact that the odds are better with treatment just makes it seem not to be a gamble. If the chances were .01% vs 00% where would you come down in that experiment. I guess you and most of the commenters here are competent to describe just where the line should be. You are empowered by your compassion. There were many valuable medical discoveries made by the nazis, but we are not happy about how they were obtained. You want to remove consent from the medical equation. I like freedom. And by-the-way, I also like oncology and wish that we had spent several trillion dollars on that instead of pouring it into the sand.

    I would say my most hated cancer is ovarian cancer. Note that about 1,500 women were killed on 9/11 and we have spent the previously mentioned trillions on revenge and prevention. Every year 15,000 or so American women die of ovarian cancer – so likely over 100,000 since 9/11. I don’t note anybody here crying about that moral dilemma, just about imposing their will on one little boy who wants to suffer in peace.

  20. #20 Kimbo Jones
    May 19, 2009

    Lee,

    Freedom is awesome. But a brainwashed little boy dying of a curable disease is pretty goddamn not awesome. There is no relevant reason for bringing up 9/11.

  21. #21 dean
    May 19, 2009

    Lee, this “You want to remove consent from the medical equation” is an incredibly stupid statement. Consent can be given when someone understands the issues, something this young boy (and apparently, you) cannot do.

  22. #22 Lee
    May 19, 2009

    A pretty good movie to watch is Judgment at Nuremburg. One of the interesting issues raises was wether people judged incompetent could refuse consent to be sterilized. They perhaps had a wider view of incompetence, but the issue is still the person vs the state. Consent is the right to say no as well as yes. You can make his decision for him because he is not competent to make the RIGHT decision – we’ve been down that road before.

    You want to try to save someone who wants to be left alone.

    Also note that curable in this case means curable sometimes and at a heavy toll. It’s touching how your compassion overides their choice. What gives you (us) the right.

  23. #23 David D.G.
    May 19, 2009

    I don’t note anybody here crying about that moral dilemma, just about imposing their will on one little boy who wants to suffer in peace.

    Lee, the boy doesn’t want to “suffer in peace” — he wants to live, but he is convinced (erroneously) that new-age woo will save him and that chemotherapy will not. I support the idea of dying with dignity; however, this boy (and his parents) are pursuing a course that, unless they are stopped, can lead only to death and indignity.

    ~David D.G.

  24. #24 Landru
    May 19, 2009

    “Judgment at Nuremburg” combined with a slippery slope? Wow. You lose, Lee. Epic fail.

    As others have tried to point out, it’s pretty clear that the boy does not have the legal capacity to give or withdraw consent.

  25. #25 luna1580
    May 19, 2009

    lee-

    the problem with your arguments is that this boy does not want to die,death is not his choice. he wants to LIVE, but for reasons that are probably related to a combination of his age, the information provided to him by his mother and her nemenhah faux-native herb seller friends, and a possible severe learning disability/physical brain problem (the circumstances resulting in him not being able to read the word “the” at age 13 are not totally public at this point, but point this way) he CANNOT understand that refusing his chemo is helping him DIE. you seem ill-informed of the details of this case.

    p.s. borderline godwin fail.

  26. #26 Missy Miss
    May 19, 2009

    Lee says:
    Also note that curable in this case means curable sometimes and at a heavy toll.

    Actually, curable for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma caught early enough and treated with chemotherapy is something like 90%. The chances of it just going away by itself? More like 0%.

    Chemo = unpleasant, but you live 90% of the time
    No treatment = unpleasant, and then you die

  27. #27 Kimbo Jones
    May 19, 2009

    Lee, I think you are mistaking the concept of “informed choice” with “any choice”. Daniel has 2 choices: to get treatment and live or to refuse treatment and die. (Note: His recent scans show that his tumor has grown, indicating that whatever he has been doing instead of chemo is not working.)

    Daniel *thinks* he is making the choice to live. If he was choosing to die, that would be one thing, but he is not. He is making an ill-informed choice and he will pay for it with his life and his mother will have to live the rest of hers knowing that.

  28. #28 Rogue Epidemiologist
    May 19, 2009

    FYI, Lee, suicide is illegal in most of the US (and still debatable in the others). Even if Hauser was informed and competent, he cannot lawfully choose to kill himself — his current decisions have been tantamount to doing so.

  29. #29 Lee
    May 19, 2009

    You are correct that I am likely wrong to say he wants to ‘suffer in peace’. All I can really deduce is that he does not want the treatment – he tried, did not like it, and refused more.

    He has revoked his consent, and that is obviously not good enough for most people here. He probably will die, and his decision is probably poorly conceived. I suppose I should be inspired by the faith shown in our government to do the right thing, but I am not. When it comes your time to choose, be sure you make the right choice, because you might not have any other choice.

    I haven’t made the slippery slope argument, but what do you call the mob action that led to nazism in Germany. There were competent people there who were run right over after they did the ‘incompetent ones first. There is price for freedom, and that price is that sometimes people make bad choices, and are ALLOWED to.

  30. #30 Pierce R. Butler
    May 19, 2009

    … I have serious problems letting 13-year-old girls choose to have an abortion without parental permission if they want it.

    Unless you consider childbirth a non-life/health-threatening situation for a 13-yr-old, or the supernaturally-based “reasoning” of the anti-abortion movement superior to that of woo-mongers, your position is (at the least) inconsistent.

  31. #31 rrt
    May 19, 2009

    Oh I dunno, Orac…as a pro-choice liberal I think I agree with you. If nothing else, I think we wouldn’t allow a 13-year-old to undergo an identical medical procedure–sans fetus–without permission. Note that I think Lee’s choice of that example was rather extreme anyway, and aimed at changing the subject.

  32. #32 luna1580
    May 19, 2009

    lee: All I can really deduce is that he does not want the treatment

    well, then either you haven’t tried very hard, or your own reading skills may be impaired.

    start with these articles, be sure to click through to the second page of search results and keep reading so you can “gather” the relevant details. making arguments while remaining ignorant is inexcusable. and lay off the godwin fails.

    http://pd.startribune.com/sp?aff=3&keywords=daniel%20hauser

  33. #33 Kate
    May 19, 2009

    Lee, it would be one thing in the boy in question had reached the age of legal majority, but he hasn’t. In the eyes of the law he is still a child, and that is how his case is being addressed. The courts have tried to act in the best interests of a scared but very ill little boy. Yes, they ordered treatment, but they have tried every option for making it as little onerous as possible for him. Now, because of the actions of his parents and possibly his oldest siblings, when he’s found, he will likely be taken from his family in order to be treated (as much as they can try to treat an unwilling patient for cancer) causing no small amount of emotional distress and harm. The issue is not one of “they’re taking away his medical choice”, at least not anymore. Your repeated references to Nazi rhetoric don’t change in any way the fact that the parents have been at the very least medically neglectful because they got scared too. Hell, cancer is scary; cancer and chemo, no matter what your age is scary. Does that mean that you shouldn’t get treated or that you should try any and everything you can think of before you go to your doctor and get yourself treated? No, it does not. Does that somehow take away your choice? No, not unless your idea of choce is narrowly defined as “I don’t like going to the doctor, therefore I should be able to shill herbs to cancer patients regardless of thier effectiveness”. The damage has nothing to do with a fascist desire to control the healthcare choices of this little boy’s family. If they want to give him honey and lemon for a sore throat, fine. But this is not a sore throat, it is a terminal (if left untreated) illness. Would you be so sanguine about thier choice to not see a doctor if the poor boy were walking around with a badly broken arm that had a band-aid stuck on and a lucky charm tied to it? That’s the same kind of thinking that we’re all having such a problem with.

    And for those of you who have a problem with Orac’s comment about abortion for young teens, I see no real inconsistency there. There is precious little that a 13 year old of either sex should be doing without thier parents knowing at least some details, medical treatment especially. Unless there is some specific reason to not inform the parents, as in cases of incest or abuse…I agree with him.

  34. #34 Alison Cummins
    May 19, 2009

    RE Lee’s successful (here anyway) attempt at changing the subject.

    You cannot assume that a thirteen year old who gets pregnant is in a safe living situation and has a really good relationship with her parents. There are situations where requiring a girl to get her parents’ permission would place her in danger. (Not all parents of pregnant thirteen-year olds eschew violence.) Delays are critical: if the parents are difficult to find or talk to, then being required to find them and gain their consent might be an obstacle to obtaining an abortion.

    Abortions are safer than childbirth, so there is no compelling reason for the state to endanger a young girl’s life by making legal abortions particularly difficult to secure.

    If you want your daughter to come to you if she becomes pregnant, I understand and I think anyone would.

    But I don’t think you would want your child to interrupt her education to bear a child she didn’t want, perhaps conceived with someone she didn’t like, endangering her life, because she was afraid to come to you. That is one of the many reasons you foster a relationship with her that does not include fear.

    Not all parents do that.

  35. #35 RMM Barrie
    May 19, 2009

    Lee @29

    In addition to the newspaper accounts, read the transcript: http://www.courts.state.mn.us/Documents/0/Public/Other/Hauser/Hauser_Transcript.pdf

    and final argument: http://www.courts.state.mn.us/Documents/0/Public/Other/Hauser/GAL.pdf

    and then there will be informed deduction.

  36. #36 Landru
    May 19, 2009

    I haven’t made the slippery slope argument…

    You can make his decision for him because he is not competent to make the RIGHT decision – we’ve been down that road before.

    Sure. Whatever.

  37. #37 Whitecoat Tales
    May 19, 2009

    Ping!

    Spoiler: Lee has no idea what he’s talking about.

  38. #38 Ophelia Benson
    May 19, 2009

    I just heard the Hausers’ lawyer on the CBC’s ‘As It Happens.’ He knows (by his own admission) nothing about the putative alternative medicine Daniel is getting or the putative beliefs that are in play. It’s a very creepy interview.

  39. #39 Robster, FCD
    May 19, 2009

    Lee, the parents are abusing their child by medical neglect.

    Your Nazi analogy falls flat. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    You should be, but you probably aren’t.

    Let’s see how your moral compass deals with this. Is it ethical for someone to lie about a claim to Native American heritage in order to commit fraud by selling fake medicine to your fellow new age cult members?

    Is it OK to just say that these people are making their own decision regardless of the fraud committed against them?

    How about if it is a 13 year old kid who is unable to seek out his own information, due to an inability to read or travel away from the family farm, whose only link to information on health care is his mom?

    This isn’t about a kid who is unable to make his own decision, and in return will be gassed or sterilized, but instead given a treatment that has an overwhelming chance of saving his life.

  40. #40 Samantha
    May 19, 2009

    I feel conflicted about thinking and saying this but I’m beginning to wonder if the parents of this child actually want him to die.

  41. #41 Lee
    May 19, 2009

    Well I read those very long documents. It seems to me that Daniel knows what he is talking about. Is he incompetent? No. Is he lacking full information? Almost surely. BUT – when any ordinary person weighs cancer choices they are facing less than full information – we just don’t know it all – and can’t. It doesn’t seem to me that religion played much part in his decision. He doesn’t want to get sick again, and that turns many an adult away from chemo, and he fears a deadly side-effect, the blood-clot. It seems to me he is capable of making this decision – and he was certain. Also it is mighty condescending to think that someone who can’t read must also be incompetent. Do I think he is making the wrond decision? Yes. Do I think I can or should force him to accept my better decision? No.

    Robster: fraud is wrong. But the people who are defrauded are not doing wrong. They may be making a mistake. I would not prevent people from buying fake Indian rugs, or snake oil, or laetrile. When you say that this is not about being sterilized you must be forgeting that that can be side effect of radiation therapy which is often used on more advanced lymphoma. I wonder if he’s been given full information about all those side effects and others like secondary tumors and increased lifetime risks of other tumors. He will likely die without the treatment, but most people I know who have died of cancer, died after quitting chemo, it’s a choice. It is their choice not ours.

  42. #42 luna1580
    May 19, 2009

    lee, do us all a favor, please read this:

    http://beyondtheshortcoat.wordpress.com/2009/05/19/daniel-hauser-and-informed-consent/#more-186

    when you understandinformed consent” you can come back to the table over here.

    until you do understand it you will be doomed to continue being a bit trollish. so please, help yourself out.

  43. #43 Pierce R. Butler
    May 19, 2009

    Please consider this scenario: a 13-yr-old comes to your medical office with a dangerous condition, one within your competence to treat with a high degree of confidence of success without complications.

    This child explains that her parents violently insist she be treated only with qabalistic incantation and communion wafers, and begs for your medically-proven techniques instead. She also has cash in hand for your standard fee for such treatment, and all other necessary prerequisites.

    As a licensed professional, of course, you have little choice but to follow the laws of your state and nation. But before you reach for that legal reference to find out – what would you rather have those laws say?

  44. #44 meg
    May 19, 2009

    I would like to have the boy’s educational situation investigated also. The boy is 13, homeschooled and illiterate? What is going on with this? That mother is failing this child all around. Where is the school district? Homeschooling is supposed to be monitored. This poor child cannot read or write. Can the parents? Maybe this is even worse than it appears.

  45. #45 Robster, FCD
    May 19, 2009

    Lee,

    The court found him incompetent. His illiteracy isn’t being mocked. It is, however, a sign that he cannot seek out outside information.

    The choice you are supporting is a false one. The kid isn’t making the choice. Hes scared. His mom is scared. And by making these decisions based on emotion, the child is being abused through medical neglect.

    I get your point about sterilization, but you know what else causes sterilization? Death.

  46. #46 Whitecoat Tales
    May 19, 2009

    @Lee: I pinged earlier a post I wrote especially for you :) read it. You don’t seem to understand enough of the medical ethics/law to have a clue what you’re talking about.
    Please note that this is not a courtier’s reply. It’s a speciifc, legal question, about informed consent.

    …being sterilized you must be forgeting that that can be side effect of radiation therapy

    Yes Lee, use your immense medical knowledge. What IS the incidence of sterilization after radiation therapy for lymphoma?

    I wonder if he’s been given full information about all those side effects and others like secondary tumors and increased lifetime risks of other tumors.

    And how increased is that risk of other tumors? How likely are these risks, when compared to the likelyhood that he will die, a painful, suffering death if he doesn’t receive chemotherapy at all.

    Incidentally, you can wonder, but I promise he or his mother has been informed in detail. It’s part of the consenting process for chemotherapy.

  47. #47 Lee
    May 20, 2009

    Thanks for the nice article on informed consent. The legal case is over – I am not arguing it. I am saying it is wrong. Anyone should be able to turn down a good deal, even if he doesn’t know how good of deal, even a life-saving deal. People should not have to do what you think is right just because you know more. They may have to, but that doesn’t make it right. Keep extending your power over others, it’s the most wonderful drug of all.

    From your note:

    Incidentally, you can wonder, but I promise he or his mother has been informed in detail. It’s part of the consenting process for chemotherapy.

    I agree, and if it is so how can he not be informed? Can you have it both ways? I guess so. He was informed, he rejected consent, and you want to say he has to do it anyway.

  48. #48 luna1580
    May 20, 2009

    lee-

    well i’m glad you chose to read the “informed consent” educational piece. it was nice of you to try to look at all provided opinions.

    but i cannot quietly accept that you feel “Anyone should be able to turn down a good deal, even if he doesn’t know how good of deal, even a life-saving deal.”

    because that is basically saying you’re cool with people dying for no “great cause” other than simple ignorance. and not ignorance amidst a culture where everyone is equally ignorant and no other options have yet been presented, but ignorance as an island in a country and culture where other options are known and widely practiced.

    you seem to want to champion one’s right to make one’s own decision free of coercion, and that seems superficially very honorable. what i cannot understand is how you construe making a choice in ignorance to be a genuinely free and true choice.

    let’s use a little parable:

    pretend you are a father of a sick daughter. she has a terrible cough, with blood coming up. so your local wise man tells you the only way to cure her is for you to sacrifice yourself to the goddess of fertility, then the goddess will take pity upon your daughter and save her. so, being a loving dad, you do it. now you’re dead and gone. whether your child is healed is unknown to you.

    would you have made that same choice if you knew that a village 5 miles away had learned to cure that same cough with antibiotics (but the didn’t tell you because of a tribal rivalry)? can your choice to die for your daughter -which may or may not cure her, but will surely leave her without a parent- really be construed as a totally free and informed choice?

    this is about more than “legal cases,” it’s about people dying from ignorance when other knowledge was available in their own contemporary societies. surely you don’t think people should not be given and seen to really understand all relevant facts before they make life or death decisions?

    and daniel hauser DOES NOT possess all the relevant facts. so how can you say that leaves him “free” to really choose?

  49. #49 luna1580@gmail.com
    May 20, 2009

    dying to promote the “noble right of willful ignorance” is never a worthy death.

    willful ignorance shouldn’t be celebrated in any functioning society. when it is, and by the majority, that society is guaranteed to be on the brink of total social (and perhaps physical) total collapse.

    think on that, lee.

  50. #50 Chris
    May 20, 2009

    meg:

    I would like to have the boy’s educational situation investigated also. The boy is 13, homeschooled and illiterate? What is going on with this? …. This poor child cannot read or write. …

    In other reports is was noted there issues with his birth, which had complications and there may have been loss of oxygen. He is learning disabled, and even if he lives to be an adult he may never learn to read.

    His lack of literacy may not be related to the homeschooling, but to his own birth related disabilities.

    I have an adult child with a severe learning disability, and some other issues. He has a fantastical view of the world and explaining points of reality can be frustrating. Even though my son can read, I would not consider him competent in making certain decisions.

  51. #51 Lee
    May 20, 2009

    One makes the best choice they can based on the information they have and THEIR estimate of its value. Are you going to feel any remorse if Daniel has the chemo and radiation and dies anyway, or will you know you did the right thing making him do it your ‘better’ way? And beyond that: suppose Daniel escapes the treatment and LIVES. Will you be unhappy at one of the five percenters providing anecdotal evidence for resisting coercion?

    Medical treatments work a lot better when the patient believes in it. If Daniel asked me what to do, I would say do the chemo; it’s your best chance. But I would not take him a gunpoint down to the hospital and make him. When the government makes you do something, you don’t always see the rest of us holding the gun, but it’s there. Because you are sure of the compelling interest you don’t mind using that gun, I on hte other hand think the gun itself is bad and think government power should be resisted every time.

    Check out the most ignored of the Bill of Rights: the 10th amendment. The power to choose one’s medical care is surely not one of the enumerated powers of the state and should, but no longer does, remain with the people. You can pick virtually any liberty or right you think we have and see it slipping away. (to those who know better)

  52. #52 luna1580@gmail.com
    May 20, 2009

    lee,

    i see you are “libertarian or die” and i cannot talk you out of it.

    it is very sad that you would condemn a child to death to prove your personal feelings about government.

    it’s nice to support beautiful ideals in theory, but putting them into practice is always messy, because human lives are always messy.

    my last question: what makes you think this kid should die, ill-informed and without real choice, just so your theoretical ideals of a perfectly “free” society can live on in your own head?

    you are suffering from a great and terrible hubris my friend. it is scary that you would make martyrs out of ignorant children for it.

  53. #53 rrt
    May 20, 2009

    You’re one helluva one-trick pony, Lee. Yeah, self-determination for all, above all, at any cost, at any age. We get it. Now unless you have anything else to say…

  54. #54 Lee
    May 20, 2009

    Luna,

    Because I don’t compel does not mean I condemn.

    I would hope that Daniel lives, whichever path this actually goes down. I wish he had appealed, won the right to choose, and I think he had a chance, particularly if he could have delayed till he was older, and then if he still needed it – chosen the chemo. Now he’s going to be hunted down like dog, and treated like a rat in a cage. His family is probably ruined by the good intentions of others, but it’s for the best.

    Science as religion is still religion, and compulsion is the hallmark of religion. Freedom is the antidote, not the poison.

  55. #55 Chris
    May 20, 2009

    Lee:

    I wish he had appealed, won the right to choose, and I think he had a chance, particularly if he could have delayed till he was older, and then if he still needed it – chosen the chemo.

    He would not even know what to choose considering his learning disabilities. You do not seem to understand that this particular child is not competent to make any decisions.

    Waiting until he is older will not help. My son is twenty years old and while he could read when he was thirteen, but is still severely learning disabled. This is a choice my son cannot make, and making a wild ass guess based on my experience with a child who has severe learning disabilities, Young Master Hauser would not be able to make competent decision even if he were twenty years old.

    Unless Daniel Hauser is found and given some real information and real counseling he has been condemned to a horrible painful death. His mother has shown complete incompetence in dealing with her disabled child. Instead of helping him through the painful parts of his therapy, she enabled his death.

    My son does have some other health issues that require medical intervention. He presently complies because it just requires a daily pill and an annual checkup. If were something that caused pain I could see him balking and not wanting to go. But, as his parent I would be encouraging to go, begging him to comply, and giving him all the comfort I could. I would not be going into hiding with him.

  56. #56 wheatdogg
    May 20, 2009

    I am reading between the lines here, but the latest Star-Trib report says Mrs Hauser’s attorney, Susan Daya, accompanied mother and son to their doctor’s appointment Monday morning. The family van is still at the farm, so someone picked up the Hausers. The court could not reach either Mrs Hauser or Daya on their cell phones.

    Daya is a member of Nemenhah. She also goes by the name Susan Daya Hamwi. Putting two and two together suggests Daya is the transporter.

    From the Star-Trib:

    Joyce said he was ready to set an appointment for Daniel with an oncologist, and recommended doctors at Children’s Hospital of Minnesota, the University of Minnesota or Mayo Clinic, but Colleen Hauser declined.

    He said he also tried to give Daniel more information about lymphoma, but that his mother and a woman accompanying them — who identified herself to the doctor as California attorney Susan Daya — left in a rush, saying they had “other places to go.”

    I bet they did. Woo-ville.

  57. #57 Sean Case
    May 20, 2009

    But Susan Dey was such a good lawyer in LA Law!

    What sanctions are there for a lawyer who assists a client in contempt of court?

  58. #58 luna1580@gmail.com
    May 20, 2009

    wheatdogg!

    i emailed jon tevlin of the star-tribune directly about this case’s nemenaha links (and the truth about landis) before he published his first column about it. he emailed me back several times in correspondence. i directed him to your first blog about it, in addition to several other links (like ‘feminist mormon housewives’). he may well have found all my links on his own, but i’m sure he wouldn’t disregard any new input on the recent developments.

    i encourage you to do the same (if you haven’t already) if you feel you have any further information about it. he seems to be the one in the MSM most committed to exposing the woo aspects of this terrible situation.

    here is one of his more recent columns on the issue:

    http://www.startribune.com/local/45190127.html?elr=KArksUUUU

  59. #59 mandrake
    May 20, 2009

    Lee, can I assume you’re against any age of consent laws?
    If a 13 yo can refuse life-saving therapy (without that his chances are less than 5%, btw) then what sense does it make that he can’t drink, a decision with far less immediate consequences? Or smoke. Or have sex.

  60. #60 luna1580@gmail.com
    May 20, 2009

    forgive that typo, i meant nemenhah, not nemenaha…

  61. #61 Russell Blackford
    May 20, 2009

    Wow, Orac, you support parents being able to force a desperate teenage girl to have a baby against her will.

    I’m disgusted with you. That’s vile.

  62. #62 Sascha
    May 20, 2009

    Most western jurisdictions, afaik, do not forbid the minor to smoke, drink or have sex. Rather they ban the sale, providing or furnishing of alcohol and tobacco to minors or forbid the adult to engage in sex with a minor. There is no legal sanction pre se for the minor. Rightly so, I think. The age of consent laws are there to protect the minor, not criminalize her/him. It is the responsible adult who faces criminal sanctions.

    The fact that a 13 year old can, if found capable of discernment, refuse medical treatment is inherent in an individuals exercise of hers/his fundamental rights. The limitation on drinking and smoking is not a very incisive cut of an individuals autonomy, whereas imposing health care and or religious choices is.

  63. #63 epador
    May 20, 2009

    He is going to die from this disease, and likely in the next 6-12 mo in the most optimistic projections. Unless he somehow is one of those one in a trillion spontaneous remissions. Which is sad because he had a better than 50% chance of long-term survival with timely treatment initially. At this point, with regrowth and further delay in treatment, maybe the merciful thing to do is let him die at home with his family.

    Dragging this through the courts while he’s dying is not particularly merciful.

    I’m curious Orac, since you brought up the subject:

    My children made themselves known to their mothers in the first trimester. Bonding was strong. The ones that were lost to miscarriage were mourned. If someone had caused a miscarriage (say they attacked the pregnant mother), it would have felt like murder of my child. How can a conscious decision by the mother to end the pregnancy be so different?

  64. #64 Richard Eis
    May 20, 2009

    So…the father has got rid of his crazy wife…and disabled son in one fell swoop.

  65. #65 D. C. Sessions
    May 20, 2009

    Anyone should be able to turn down a good deal, even if he doesn’t know how good of deal, even a life-saving deal.

    For instance that two-year-old with a life-threatening infection should be able to refuse the antibiotics that will save hir life because, you know, we have to respect hir right to say NO!!!

  66. #66 wheatdogg
    May 20, 2009

    Thanks, Luna. I also emailed the Star-Trib, and right now it is my best source of information. I have read Tevlin’s columns, and he’s spot on the Nemenhah Band’s sketchy background.

    I wish the other MSM would get on the bus and also expose the bogus Native American religion the Nemenhah Band expouse. Real Native Americans do not need this kind of negative publicity. Colleen, Daniel and Susan Daya Hamwi (if it is indeed her) better stay away from any rez.

  67. #67 Whitecoat Tales
    May 20, 2009

    He was informed, he rejected consent, and you want to say he has to do it anyway.

    NO, he was not “informed”, he was told. BEING told does not constitute being informed. You just said you read the post on informed consent. One must actually understand to be informed.

    In real life, if I was consenting you, me giving you all the information doesn’t mean you are informed. You must be able to repeat the information back to me (without word for word parroting!). I promise, Hauser couldn’t do that.

    It would appear that your political glasses are coloring your ability to think critically in any other situation. Libertarianism is just anarchy for adults.

  68. #68 JLT
    May 20, 2009

    “which showed that his tumor had grown back to its original size.”

    They’re “treating” the kid since February with their quackery and still the tumor grew back to its original size (before chemotherapy). Shouldn’t they realize that it’s not working?

    I can imagine that someone is so taking in by quacks that he/she stops chemotherapy and tries an alternative “treatment”, but I just don’t get how they continue to believe in it even when they’ve got proof that it’s not helping.

  69. #69 dean
    May 20, 2009

    Lee, you must be one of the “libertarian means never having to think” folks- first with the asinine nazi crap, now the “the kid was informed” bullshit. After all that, your statements about hoping the boy survives don’t ring true.

    “Are you going to feel any remorse if Daniel has the chemo and radiation and dies anyway”
    Remorse, as in feeling bad because giving him the chemo was a bad thing? No, because that is is best (only, realistically) CHANCE for survival. I haven’t seen anyone say it’s a sure thing. Sadness if he were to die? Yes.

    “or will you know you did the right thing making him do it your ‘better’ way?” I’d know we gave it the best shot.

    “And beyond that: suppose Daniel escapes the treatment and LIVES. Will you be unhappy at one of the five percenters providing anecdotal evidence for resisting coercion?”

    I’d be thrilled if he were to live, and would be just as sure that it had nothing to do with the “anecdotal evidence” crap carrying any weight.

    Quite the imaginary world you live in Lee – a sad, stupid one, though.

  70. #70 James Sweet
    May 20, 2009

    FWIW, even though Lee’s language is hyperbolic, I think from a human rights point of view this is not so clear cut. I have some reservations about this…

    Let me state first of all that Hauser’s parents are total assholes and there is zero justification whatsoever for what they are doing. They’re choice to discourage their son from getting chemotherapy is morally and ethically indefensible.

    That said, I am not 100% sure how I feel about the state mandating a medical treatment, even for a minor, when there are not other people being put at risk (as opposed to if he had a contagious disease). I am not saying I think Hauser is fully capable of informed consent, no no no. But if his parents say they don’t want it, and if he says he doesn’t want it (even if that is a result of parental brainwashing), then I feel that it may be going beyond the boundaries of what gov’t ought to be doing.

    I think that allowing families to “opt-out” of mainstream systems is an important check on the potential for the mainstream to go awry. In a sense, it is strength via diversity. For instance, it is very important to allow private schooling and homeschooling — even if a disappointing fraction of those who are homeschooled are indoctrinated with fundamentalist or wooist belief systems — in order to prevent any possibility of a tyrannical government using public schooling to indoctrinate children for a self-serving purpose. (And if you don’t believe there’s any risk of America ever having a tyrannical self-serving government, see also the last eight years) The cost of letting parents make sub-optimal (sometimes extremely sub-optimal) decisions for their children is weighed against the benefit of protecting parents from sub-optimal government-mandated decisions.

    Okay, before I get totally flamed, let me reiterate again that I’m ”not sure” how I feel in this case. Absolutely none of the “opt-out” rationale I mentioned above has any practical application to the Hauser case at all. Here, the “strength in diversity” argument falls apart because we can scientifically prove that the non-mainstream treatment the Hauser’s want to use is a load of crap. (In contrast, one cannot ever scientifically prove that a particular ideal is or is not being used to promote a self-serving tyrannical gov’t, for example)

    The fear would be that a corrupt government in the future would actually mandate a medical treatment for self-serving reasons, despite poor scientific evidence. Surely, if that were to occur then those capable of understanding the science would speak out… but what worries me about that reply is that it ultimately relies on the electorate to weigh whether the a given government is abusing/misrepresenting scientific evidence — and uh, since 60% of Americans don’t believe in evolution…. yeah, exactly.

    Clearly there will never be a woo-style conspiracy where the government and tens of thousands of scientists are so in the pocket of a corrupt industry (Evil Oncology! heh) that nobody will speak out about it and/or the scientific evidence so thoroughly suppressed. But I don’t discount the possibility that the government and maybe a few hundred scientists could ever be in the pocket of a corrupt industry; and even if tens of thousands of scientists were speaking out against it, I’m not sure I trust the electorate to know the difference.

    Bottom line: Isolating this particular case, there is no doubt whatsoever that the moral and ethical thing to do is to get Hauser the treatment he needs. However, the law deals in generalities… and in the general case of a minor refusing mainstream medical treatment, I am not quite sure how to ensure that the government only ever mandates treatment in a moral and ethical manner.

  71. #71 James Sweet
    May 20, 2009

    I do want to distance myself strongly from Lee’s comment that “science as religion is still religion, and compulsion is the hallmark of religion.”

    First of all, science by definition is not religion. Woo in the name of science is called “pseudoscience”, not science.

    More meaningfully, I strongly disagree with the assertion that compulsion in the name of science immediately implies it must be religiously motivated (or even science-as-religion-motivated).

    There are plenty of times when compulsion is justified on scientific grounds… Involuntary commission of a dangerously mentally insane person, for example. Or, knock on wood that this will never happen, but a deadly pandemic could conceivably require mandatory quarantine. Compelling drug addicts to go to treatment programs (as opposed to jail) is compulsion in the name of science — and you damn well better believe that’s not religious! (Quite the opposite, the Religious Right seems to be jacking the whole deal by demanding righteous punishment as opposed to humane treatment… but I digress)

    My qualms are in how to guarantee long-term that the gov’t is always getting the science right when they mandate treatment. If we could be sure that some future corrupt and/or incompetent government (Bush III? ) would never use this precedent to mandate bogus or self-serving treatments, then I’d be more than happy to say that the gov’t should step in any time a parent refuses treatment in a way that puts their children at significant risk. This “science as religion” thing is a red herring.

  72. #72 James Sweet
    May 20, 2009

    Oh, and one more thing… My opinion leans towards agreeing that the treatment ought to be mandated anyway, despite concerns I have about the long-term potential for government abuse. The minor’s interests are just so clear-cut and so compelling that I’m thinking it outweighs the murky long-term ramifications.

  73. #73 James Sweet
    May 20, 2009

    Exhibit A in why it worries me to see government mucking around in the field of medicine and decreeing that “they know best” when it comes to science: The Bush administration’s policy on stem cell research.

  74. #74 dean
    May 20, 2009

    “Exhibit A in why it worries me to see government mucking around in the field of medicine and decreeing that “they know best” when it comes to science: The Bush administration’s policy on stem cell research.”

    True, but I’m not sure this point is relevant here. In Daniel’s case we know what the best (not perfect, I agree) course of action is, because of years of accumulated evidence, and that is the basis for recommendation – from a court.

    In Bush’s case the science was ignored, by proclamation, in essence.

    II continue to hope Daniel is found and, treated, and cured.

  75. #75 BB
    May 20, 2009

    A 13 year old girl can become pregnant through rape (meaning, she can come from a great family but have the unspeakable happen).
    She can ask, in most jurisdictions, for a court or judge to act in loco parentis, so in effect, she can have an abortion without parental consent.
    What happens in emergency situations when a minor is brought into the ER: do you chase down parents for consent, or do you treat the emergency? Doesn’t the child get treated without consent? Heck, even adults get treated without consent in emergencies, no?
    Lee, when you get Hodgkins, you are free to refuse all the treatment for yourself. You are not free to refuse for your child.

  76. #76 Andrew Dodds
    May 20, 2009

    JLT –

    When it comes to quackery, there is ALWAYS an excuse as to why it failed. Usually because the patient didn’t believe in it enough, or didn’t get the quackery quickly enough, or dared to go to an ‘allopathic’ doctor.. never because the quackery dosen’t work. Perish the thought.

    Lee –

    You’ve managed to link this to Abortion, 9/11, Hitler and libertarianism in one thread; may I suggest you also bring up Global Warming, Creationism, Race and Islam to complete the whole ‘wingnut’ bingo card?

  77. #77 Kim
    May 20, 2009

    A tangent to the discussion in progress, but comments on posts related to this story are my first exposure to the idea that chemotherapy exists to kill patients. Where did this idea come from? I understand that some if not all chemotherapy is essentially poison, and I understand that some patients undergoing chemotherapy will die (being people with cancer to start with…), but I don’t quite get the leap to chemotherapy = murder. What possible motive could there be for killing the patient? Even the Big Pharma financial conspiracy argument makes no sense, a patient who survives the disease and goes on to be a customer for all the mundane medications of old age is a better deal for them. Is part of the problem here some conflation of curative or prophylactic chemo with palliative end-of-life chemo? Or is that explanation too simple?

  78. #78 Dianne
    May 20, 2009

    Actually, I’m probably going to get into huge trouble by saying this, but I have serious problems letting 13-year-old girls choose to have an abortion without parental permission if they want it.

    I don’t know if this is the sort of trouble you were thinking of or not, but I am going to ask you more about this…What if the situation were the other way around: the parents wanted the girl to get an abortion, the girl wanted to carry to term?

  79. #79 James Sweet
    May 20, 2009

    @Dean #74: Agree completely that the situation is different, but I do think it is at least somewhat relevant.

    I guess the question is, is this (medical treatment) an area that is so sacred and/or dangerous to mess around with that we want the government to be 100% hands-off? Or is it an area we want to take an a case-by-case basis, where we (the electorate) approves or disapproves of individual government actions based on whether they were sound or not.

    An example of the former is speech. It would be nice if the government could get Jenny McCarthy to shut the hell up, and if it did not set a dangerous precedent, I think I can safely say that if McCarthy’s First Amendment rights were revoked, the world would be a better place. It’s probably not even hyperbole to say that it would save lives to muzzle that woomeister. But it does set a dangerous precedent, and we have decided that (except in the case of a clear and present danger, and even then there are limits) the government must be hands-off when it comes to speech. We don’t decide case-for-case whether speech is good or bad — the government just doesn’t get to mess with it, period.

    There are all sorts of examples of the latter, i.e. where it is case-for-case. For instance, if I get a bogus traffic ticket, I challenge the ticket; I don’t go around saying that government shouldn’t regulate traffic for fear that they will abuse their power.

    I think medical treatment of minors is an area that falls right near the edge. A part of me wants to say, “Nuh-uh, our bodies and our decisions on what to do with our bodies are too precious, and the government has such a bad track record of making good decisions when it comes to science, they should just stay out of it altogether.” Another part of me wants to say, “One can pretty easily tell when science is being abused/ignored (Bush stem cell) and when science is being used appropriately to mandate appropriate care (Hauser). Let’s do all we can to support politicians and judges who use science appropriately, and to fight against politicians and judges who abuse or ignore it.”

    I guess I’m starting to lean towards the latter… but I used to feel differently, and I still think it’s a bit murky.

  80. #80 Calli Arcale
    May 20, 2009

    luna1580, way up, posted this:

    it’s pretty telling that the star-tribune has no comment section available for this story. no matter what opinion someone holds about what should be happening to this boy, everyone is angry.

    In defense of the Strib, this is common for short updates to existing stories, and shouldn’t be taken as a sign of censorship. The longer stories about Daniel Hauser, including ones subsequent to the brief update linked in the OP, have allowed comments. I’m not sure if it’s for a technical or organizational reason, but that’s the pattern I’ve seen reading the Strib online for several years now.

  81. #81 RickK
    May 20, 2009

    James Sweet,

    Thanks for the thoughtful input. But let’s put “science” aside and just look at it from the perspective of our current society.

    Should society intervene if parents’ style of discipline puts the child’s life in danger?

    Should society intervene if the parents’ nutritional practices puts the child’s life in danger?

    Should society intervene if the parents’ medical choices put the child’s life in danger?

    Should society intervene if the parents’ religious rituals endanger the child’s life?

  82. #82 James Sweet
    May 20, 2009

    RickK — Yes, probably.. but I do think the following two questions are distinct:

    Should society intervene if the parents choose a medical treatment that actively puts the child’s life in danger?

    Should society intervene if the parents refuse a medical treatment that would greatly reduce the danger to the child’s life?

    The answer to both questions is probably ultimately “yes”, but I think they are different questions and it’s not really fair to equate the two.

    We also have to recognize this is a continuum. If there is a choice between treatment A and treatment B, and the latest data says that treatment A has a 51% chance of success while treatment B has a 49% chance of success, should the government intervene then? What if it is 60% and 40%? 70% and 30%? Is there a difference between whether the latest data says 60% +/- 10% vs. if it says 60% +/- 1%?

    In this case, it’s 95% vs. <5%. The starkness of this particular choice is a big part of what is impelling me to say “Yes, the freedom of the parents to choose what is best for their child should be compromised in this case.” There’s no gray area to speak of in terms of the parents’ choice; the only conceivable gray area is whether government should intervene.

    Still, it’s not clear where to draw the line, and I kinda feel that neither the government nor the electorate has really demonstrated a capacity to consistently interpret data in such a way that I feel comfortable about where the line is ultimately going to be drawn.

    But I suppose one can say that about any interventive government action, huh? And I guess that is your point.

    Just to stir the pot some more, heh… you ask, should society intervene if the parents’ religious rituals endanger the child’s life? Well, okay, what if the “religious ritual” is demonization of homosexuality? Nobody really knows how many gay teens have been driven to suicide by this religious practice, so I can’t really offer data, but the general consensus among non-bigots seems to be that it’s a non-trivial number. So doesn’t this endanger a child’s life? Should the government intervene when parents teach their children that if they are gay they will go to hell?

    (This is not a rhetorical question, either… Perhaps the answer is “yes”, but the “intervention” is merely a series of PSAs telling kids it is okay to be gay? And FWIW, I do think so-called “ex-gay” camps rise to the level where the government needs to intervene and put a stop to it, even if it means taking the child into protective custody. But what about just teaching kids in Sunday school that homosexuality is evil? I don’t think these are easy questions…)

  83. #83 James Sweet
    May 20, 2009

    Ah crap, should have hit preview… I used a less-than-sign without escaping it, and it erased a whole paragraph. In the above post, the paragraph beginning “In this case, it’s 95%” should have read as follows:

    In this case, it’s 95% vs. less than 5%. The starkness of this particular choice is a big part of what is impelling me to say “Yes, the freedom of the parents to choose what is best for their child should be compromised in this case.” There’s no gray area to speak of in terms of the parents’ choice; the only conceivable gray area is whether government should intervene.

  84. #84 rrt
    May 20, 2009

    Again, this abortion topic was just an effort to change the subject, but to some commenters, especially Russell Blackford:

    Orac didn’t say more than that he has serious problems with the lack of parental permission. You shouldn’t equate that with forcing a 13-year-old to give birth. Not until, or if, he decides to elaborate. I happen to agree with “serious problems” and I don’t support forcing birth, so there are other possibilities. But like I said, let him speak if he wants to on it.

  85. #85 RMM Barrie
    May 20, 2009

    James Sweet @ 70-73 and 79
    I basically agree with what your concerns are, but the essential point is that in this instance, there is not a mandate in the sense of law. This is what the courts are for, to decide these things, for particular circumstances. The most that can be said is, it creates another case that can be cited as precedent. Courts in the most part are very aware of individual rights, and I thought the judge in his interview, although somewhat “folksy”, carefully avoided the pitfalls where he could be attacked. The judge also did not mandate treatment, but sent Daniel back for additional assessment, the X-Ray, and then treatment if the medical experts deemed it to be in the best interest of Daniel.
    Nobody has passed a law that says … government ……… knows best …… you do.

  86. #86 James Sweet
    May 20, 2009

    RMM Barrie, excellent point. I don’t really have anything to add to that. You are absolutely right, the distinction between a judicial remedy vs. a legislative proclamation is pretty important. Keeping that in mind does resolve a lot of the uneasiness I feel about the ruling.

  87. #87 K. Alexander
    May 20, 2009

    I’ve changed the minds of a couple of “the parents/child should have the right”/”the government does not have the right” people with this analogy:

    I start or belong to a religion where being treated for burns condemns your soul to damnation. I have a child, who I love, and who loves me, and impart my belief system upon him/her to the degree where he/she has my exact same beliefs (getting treatment for burns is against God). We agree that if either of us should get burned, the other will not call emergency services for help.

    My child gets an extremely severe burn right in front of me, at home. Instead of taking him/her to the hospital, I pray, as per my beliefs. After a few hours, my child dies. The burn is such so that the child would have had a 90% chance of survival had I taken him/her in for burn treatment.

    Am I guilty of neglect?

  88. #88 Raging Bee
    May 20, 2009

    Robert, what do you call people who want to practice medicine on unwilling patients?

    Some such people are called “pediatricians.” Oh, and don’t forget those qualified medical professionals who serve patients who are unconscious, insane, too scared or freaked out over their injury to understand what’s going on or make a rational decision about it in the time they have, etc.

  89. #89 Flex
    May 20, 2009

    James Sweet wrote, “I think medical treatment of minors is an area that falls right near the edge. A part of me wants to say, “Nuh-uh, our bodies and our decisions on what to do with our bodies are too precious,….”

    The concern I think we all share about this issue is the relatively undefined nimbus of rights surrounding minors.

    So, for a moment, let’s look at the rights that full citizens have to refuse medical treatment. These rights are not unlimited. As I understand it, a court finding of mental incompetence can be used to force an adult to undergo medical treatment. I’ve read of these sort of court orders being used for methadone treatments and even for the treatment of certain infectious diseases.

    In the case of Daniel Hauser it appears that the judge took the time to determine if Daniel was competent to understand his treatment options and the chances of survival with the various types of treatment, and determined that Daniel was not mentally capable of understanding the options.

    This is exactly the same level of medical freedom we give to an adult.

    We make these interventions out of compassion. As a society we recognize that usually a self-destructive path is taken out of ignorance or fear. If we can alleviate the fear or remove the ignorance, people will usually chose a less self-destructive path. Should it be clear that the person continues to chose a self-destructive path, even after it’s clear that they know exactly what they are doing, we generally let them continue on their way.

    It may be said by some that any intervention is a restriction on a person’s freedom to choose. This is an extreme view, regrettably held by far too many people. Choices made in ignorance or fear are not true choices and it’s important for a society (be it simply friends and family) to recognize and intervene when a choice is made in this fashion. Should the intervention, which can be as little as a friendly chat about the subject, indicate that the person does understand the consequences of their choices, then no more need be done. That’s what compassion is all about; caring enough to check on someone else.

    The courts, and the government, get involved when it’s clear that friends and family cannot provide the expertise to help alleviate the fear and ignorance of an individual.

    Returning to the subject of the rights of minors; they do not enjoy the rights of full citizens. This means a couple of things. For example, one of the citizen’s rights we deny to minors is the right to vote. This means that they have little (or no) voice in the operation of the government.

    In exchange for the limitations of their rights that minors suffer, as a society we have established some additional protections. One of those is the protection from abuse by an adult, with the guarantee of intervention should abuse occur. This protection from abuse extends across all adults, including the parents.

    Denying a minor, who is not allowed to make major medical decisions because of the legal assumption of incomprehension, standard of care medical treatment is abuse. (Note: I wrote denying. The underlying assumption with denying is that it is available but not used. If the standard of care medical treatment is not available it’s hard to make a case for abuse.)

    It seems to me that the judge in this case leaded over backward to determine if Daniel could comprehend the choices being made for him. Found that Daniel couldn’t, which left him little choice but to intervene in the situation and order the standard of care with, or without, his parent’s consent.

  90. #90 terri
    May 20, 2009

    Just like with Katie Wernecke, if they succeed we will not hear anymore about it. There have been competant, successful, adult Dr.’s who have cured their cancer with alternative methods who then afterwards were legally silenced! This is getting scary. The Government does NOT have the right to do ANYONE’S thinking for them. The Hauser’s run a Dairy Farm. That doesn’t make them mentally inferior hicks; It means they are successful family run business owners. You are supporting fascism & trying to make these people sound like flaky, mooney, cultists. Homeopathy & Wholestic medicine is NOT quackery. It has the longest documented history of ANY practice to date! Pharmaceutical companies can NOT legally patent natural remedies. So they can’t get royalties off of them. If Rosa Park’s had “appealed the courts rationally & legally for permission” EVERYTHING WOULD HAVE STAYED THE SAME! I hope for sake of this countries founding principles that they get him better before they are found so they can prove that they are in the right in making a decision their family can live with. What about the woman who is fighting the courts right now to have her son euthanized?! Why aren’t ya’ll fighting her to the teeth? SHE’s the one who needs to be removed from any decision making processes, not someone who is ACTING in an alternative manner to achieve the same end! If Mrs. Hauser succeeds she needs to sue the crap out of the system all the way to the supreme courts to have the laws amended to protect (even further) our right to choose how OUR children are taken care of.

  91. #91 Whitecoat Tales
    May 20, 2009

    Robert, what do you call people who want to practice medicine on unwilling patients?

    Raging Bee totally beat me to the “pediatricians” answer. Also, psychiatrists. Emergency room doctors when you are drunk or high. Surgeons on those same drunk or high patients if they were in a trauma.

    The reality is that all of those situations come down to the same point. If you can’t make an informed decision about your healthcare, we by default make appropriate decisions for you. What’s the alternative?

    In august (when I was on trauma surgery) someone walked into the ER drunk with a hole in their stomach, food leaking out, asking for a paper towel. He “refused” to be operated on. Are we supposed to let him die? Hell no, we cut his ass open, cleaned him out, stitched him up. Anything less would have been inappropriate, because he proved he couldn’t decide for himself.

    Even the libertarian doctors I know generally feel Hauser should be forced to accept treatment – he just doesn’t understand enough to say otherwise. This isn’t about ideology, this is about understanding medicine.

  92. #92 JinTX
    May 20, 2009

    Good god – I cannot believe the number of people in this country who have NO PROBLEM forcing chemotherapy on a child, or forcing a PARENT to force the treatment. How dare ANY OF YOU assume to be superior to a parent making a no-win choice?
    Chemotherapy for a child has so many other risks of long term effects – even if it does put the cancer into remission. We are only beginning to learn about those risks, because this treatment is relatively new. A pox on ANYONE who thinks they have the right to judge a parent for making the hardest decision they will ever make.

  93. #93 Lee
    May 20, 2009

    Whitecoat Tales, it seem s you are saying that Daniel was consented (that verb meaning they attempted to get his consent). So they told him what the consequences were, but he wasn’t smart enough to understand (as proved by his really unwise decision to not consent) so he was not informed, and so is unable to actually consent. So his refusal to consent, or his inablity to consent leads to consent being granted for him. Is that what Orwell had in mind for double-speak. Let big brother handle it – and I can assure big brother is looking for every opportunity.

    Mandreke, in general I am opposed to most all age laws, but it doesn’t seem germane to this discussion except to say that Daniel seemed cogent enough to make this decision – and he is making the same choice as many cancer victims.

    The distinction of the judge vs the legislature is quite interesting in that they are supposed to be coequal branches of the government. Seems to me a distinction without a difference – you are compelled one way or the other.

    Andrew, I will obliquely go about filling in another square. A lot of this argument seems to hover around the chance of survival – as though it were ‘settled science’. Cancer treatment is to me not settled at all or 500,000+ Americans would not die of it each year. Are our oncologists and cancer researchers heros? In a very big way they are! Are they right to insist on trying to save someone who does not want them to try with him? I don’t think so at all – and that is what this is about – substituting one groups judgment over that of the individual.

  94. #94 Calli Arcale
    May 20, 2009

    It’s certainly a tough case.

    I offer for consideration the Babylon 5 episode “Believers”. Dr Franklin was faced with a patient with a simple and easily treatable problem, which if not treated would kill the kid. The treatment was a simple surgical procedure that is well tolerated. But the boy’s parents believe that cutting the flesh will release the soul, so they are traveling the sector looking for a doctor with an alternative. Franklin promises to try to come up with something, but really he just wants to persuade them to see reason. Nobody’s able to give him helpful advice, and the story ends up being about his quest to resolve the situation.

    I won’t give away the ending, but it’s not a very satisfying one if you like endings where everything gets neatly resolved and the primitive folks see reason or somebody comes up with a magic fix. In fact, the story doesn’t really give an opinion about what Franklin should have done. Did he make the right choice? Would it have made a difference? Who has the moral high ground? It’s not at all clear, and that’s the trick with situations like this one. It’s not at all clear.

    (J Michael Strazynski, the series creator, loved stories like that. He once said that a good story should provoke thought, discussion, and the occasional bar fight.)

    I do think the state has a duty to intervene and at least try to save the boy’s life. I think the judge gave the best possible ruling, given the boy’s medical needs, his spiritual needs, his family’s right to self-determination, and the law. But I fear it won’t end any better than the episode “Believers” did.

  95. #95 Trin Tragula
    May 20, 2009

    Maybe they’ve been raptured.

  96. #96 James Sweet
    May 20, 2009

    I thought we were getting some good discussion about where the boundaries of government intervention into medical care should be (I really appreciated all the answers to my musings on the topic, BTW) and along comes someone putting a pox on us. Oh dear.

    JinTX, how is a 95% chance of survival vs. a less-than-5% chance of survival a “no-win situation”? I think the win is pretty clear here!

  97. #97 Landru
    May 20, 2009

    10th Amendment, Lee? Wow. That’s a serious sack of hilarity, there. You do understand that “people,” as consistently used in the Constitution, means “Congress,” right? Or are you seriously arguing that anything not explicitly defined as a Federal or State power in the Constitution needs to be settled in a town meeting? Or are you seriously arguing that the government, (Federal or State–the “state,” to casually fling about the same word you’re flinging, in the same way you’re flinging it), has no reasonable interest in regulating health and safety?

    This thread Godwined out almost as soon as it started.

  98. #98 Flex
    May 20, 2009

    Lee opined, “… Daniel seemed cogent enough to make this decision – and he is making the same choice as many cancer victims.”

    Source please.

    Every source I’ve read suggests that the court found him unable to comprehend the ramification of his choice.

    Just because he is making a choice that you agree with doesn’t necessary make him cogent enough to understand his decision.

  99. #99 Raging Bee
    May 20, 2009

    How dare ANY OF YOU assume to be superior to a parent making a no-win choice?

    And who are YOU to assert, with absolutely no factual backup, that this is a “no-win choice?” Instead of getting hyperemotional and defensive when society questions someone’s idiotic choices, why don’t you prove you care about the kid’s welfare by reading the post and understanding what we’re arguiong about?

    And speaking of “hyperemotional and defensive,” would someone please give terri a huge cup of chamomile tea and politely remind her that most of her ranting had nothing to do with the circumstances of this particular case?

    It’s amazing what happens when hyperemotional people find their choices and beliefs questioned in the real world. Did these folks calll their own parents “Nazis” when they tried to get them to clean up their rooms and wash themselves?

  100. #100 Whitecoat Tales
    May 20, 2009

    There have been competant, successful, adult Dr.’s who have cured their cancer with alternative methods who then afterwards were legally silenced! This is getting scary.

    Indeed, and the plural of anecdote is data. But again, this is about consent, and ability to do so, not about the government doing anything. It’s about child neglect and child abuse.

    The Hauser’s run a Dairy Farm. That doesn’t make them mentally inferior hicks;

    Noone is saying that it does.

    You are supporting fascism & trying to make these people sound like flaky, mooney, cultists.

    Facism Fail.

    Homeopathy & Wholestic medicine is NOT quackery. It has the longest documented history of ANY practice to date! Pharmaceutical companies can NOT legally patent natural remedies. So they can’t get royalties off of them.

    Firstly, it’s Holistic medicine. Longest documented history has nothing to do with effectiveness.

    If the oldest profession in the world is prostitution, than the second oldest is the conman who sold you “cures” for the clap.

    If Rosa Park’s had “appealed the courts rationally & legally for permission” EVERYTHING WOULD HAVE STAYED THE SAME!

    Never
    Ever
    Compare the right to neglect your child with the struggle for civil rights.
    Ever

  101. #101 Lee
    May 20, 2009

    Landru,

    I doubt we have enough common ground for a discussion. I think of the Constitution as a ducument enumerating the powers of the Executive, Congress, and the Courts in order to LIMIT them. Powers not specifically granted are not theirs.

    Your interpretation (that I think Congress actually believes) is that all powers not enumerated belong to Congress as well as the ones enumerated. That join seems to me to mean that all power is held by Congress or the rest of government. I seem to be in a dwindling minority who believe that freedom is our birthright and the reason for America’s greatness. Those who believe our government to be the source of our greatness are IMO going to be proven wrong.

  102. #102 Raging Bee
    May 20, 2009

    I doubt we have enough common ground for a discussion.

    Well, Lee, the record now shows that YOU are the one choosing to give up the discussion.

    I think of the Constitution as…

    Excuse me, but this is not an argument about the Constitution. Do try to keep up on the reading, won’t you? Or at least try to understand what we’re talking about before you start talking.

  103. #103 daedalus2u
    May 20, 2009

    My solution is to find her in contempt of court and fine her $20,000 per day. When the value of the family property is exceeded by the fine, evict them and auction off the farm.

  104. #104 Landru
    May 20, 2009

    You’re probably right about our lack of common ground, Lee. But I’m not going to leave unanswered a raw assertion that “government” and “freedom” are antithetical. If that’s your view, you don’t have a lot of common ground with most Americans, as others have pointed out to you here, both more and less gently.

    Of course, that’s all irrelevant to the question, which is the Hauser boy’s legal capacity. But you and I have both covered our views on that in this thread.

  105. #105 Marita
    May 20, 2009

    Cancer treatment is to me not settled at all or 500,000+ Americans would not die of it each year.

    Seriously? If you want to maintain any credibility in talking about the scientific aspect of this, maybe you should start by not pretending that “cancer” is a single disease rather than a broad array of related tumor-forming conditions. Treatment for melanoma may not be very good with our current understanding, but treatment for Hodgkins Lymphoma (which is what young Mr. Hauser is suffering from) sure is effective.

  106. #106 Whitecoat Tales
    May 20, 2009

    So his refusal to consent, or his inablity to consent leads to consent being granted for him. Is that what Orwell had in mind for double-speak. Let big brother handle it – and I can assure big brother is looking for every opportunity.

    Big Brother has nothing to do with this. When you aren’t capable of making a decision for yourself, we make decisions for you.

    You are determined to be capable if you understand what youre choices actually imply, as I detailed in my post
    here
    , dedicated to you.

    As has been pointed out to you multiple times, if a 5 year ld with pneumonia says “No i don’t want a shot”, that doesn’t mean that the patient does not get a shot.

    Now, instead of invoking big brother, give me a reasoned response as to why children should be able to make their medical decisions when they clearly (in this situation) don’t understand the consequences of their action.

    As for your libertarian ramblings, they have no place here. This isn’t about politics. Even if it was, the government has a role in preventing child abuse and child neglect. Plain and simple, that is all that this is. This is a deceptive form of child neglect.

  107. #107 Mark Cook
    May 20, 2009

    I don’t even believe that the Constitutional arguements here have anything to do with this case.

    The 10th amendment to the US Constitution reads: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

    IANAL, but it seems this places a limit on the Federal government’s powers, not those of the State of Minnesota (or any other individual State). The list of powers prohibited to the States in the US Constitution does not include anything along the lines of what is being discussed. Judge Rodenburg is a district judge in Minnesota, so the 10th Amendment does not apply to this case.

  108. #108 Natalie
    May 20, 2009

    Lee:

    So they told him what the consequences were, but he wasn’t smart enough to understand (as proved by his really unwise decision to not consent) so he was not informed, and so is unable to actually consent.

    Where did Whitecoat Tales say, or imply, that the fact that the boy didn’t consent is proof that he wasn’t informed?

  109. #109 Natalie
    May 20, 2009

    Mark, I am also not a lawyer, but I believe the 14th amendment extended the various constitutional restrictions on the federal government to the states, meaning that they are bound by the same rules.

  110. #110 Calli Arcale
    May 20, 2009

    Latest update: the father now says he believes his wife and son have left the country. He declined to say where they are, specifically to protect them (making him clearly an accessory), but said that they are not in Canada. Canada would have been the most obvious place, since it only takes a few hours to get there from here. But of course the haven of cancer quackery is Mexico, and it’s not too tough to get there from here either. You just hop on I-35, and that’ll take you to the border town of Laredo. If they left Monday afternoon, they could easily be there by now.

    The father did express “disappointment” that his wife hadn’t followed the plan they’d laid out with the court-appointed lawyer, which was to attend yesterday’s hearing and present a treatment plan involving a lower dose chemo regimen. He thinks his wife freaked out upon learning how much the cancer had grown and then bolted. So there may be some disagreement within the family, though it seems likely to me that the mom makes all the medical decisions for the family and the dad just goes along, perhaps deferring to her “maternal instinct”.

  111. #111 Lee too
    May 20, 2009

    I just want to say – I sometimes post here as “Lee”, and often over at Deltoid and at a few other science blogs – and this Lee here in this thread is not me.

    Sorry to take up bandwidth saying this, but I really really don’t want to be confused with this guy.

  112. #112 Flex
    May 20, 2009

    Natalie wrote, “I believe the 14th amendment extended the various constitutional restrictions on the federal government to the states, meaning that they are bound by the same rules.”

    IANAL either, but as I understand it, the part of the 14th amendment that you are referencing (there are 4 parts to that amendment) simply says that “No State can make or enforce a law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;….”

    Which suggests to me (among other things) that under this amendment States cannot set a minimum drinking age!

    Of course, there is a whole body of legislation at the state level, and the case law to support it, which covers things like minimum drinking ages. Unlike Sacha’s claim above, many States do prohibit minors from certain activities. For an example, see the Michigan Compiled Laws 436.703.

    (1) A minor shall not purchase or attempt to purchase alcoholic liquor, consume or attempt to consume alcoholic liquor, possess or attempt to possess alcoholic liquor, or have any bodily alcohol content, except as provided in this section. A minor who violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by the following fines and sanctions and is not subject to the penalties prescribed in section 909:

    (a) For the first violation a fine of not more than $100.00, and may be ordered to participate in substance abuse prevention services or substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation services as defined in section 6107 of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.6107, and designated by the administrator of substance abuse services, and may be ordered to perform community service and to undergo substance abuse screening and assessment at his or her own expense as described in subsection (4).

    The point is that many of the laws we live with in our society are not explicitly called out in our federal constitution, and they can’t be. If constitutionality is your litmus test for all the rights and privileges of citizens of the United States you have a very limited understanding of the law.

    The Daniel Hauser case is not a constitutional question.

    To argue that parents should have the freedom to do anything they desire with their children is to argue that children are property.

  113. #113 luna1580@gmail.com
    May 20, 2009

    (80) Calli Arcale-

    thanks for sticking up for the strib, i feel they’ve been giving excellent coverage to all the many aspects of this case. i also feel that if a newspaper or blog wants to moderate its comment section it may, as long as it discloses this fact. when all “letters to the editor” were the paper kind no one ever argued that the newspaper was obligated to publish every single one in full and without a disclaimer, i feel comment policies are of a similar nature.

    i was intending to comment on how extremely heated all the viewpoints on the hauser situation have become. the case is inflammatory and touches nerves on so many issues, it’s been easy for some people to get so carried away with greater ideological arguments that they seem to forget the life of a real 13 year old kid is at stake.

  114. #114 D. C. Sessions
    May 20, 2009

    So his refusal to consent, or his inablity to consent leads to consent being granted for him.

    Damn straight, or that 8yo with a hot belly I saw a while back would have died before we tracked down his grandfather.

    Deal.

  115. #115 luna1580@gmail.com
    May 20, 2009

    UPDATE:

    now daniel’s father has told the media:

    “I’d like to tell them, you know, ‘Come back and be safe and be a family again,’ ” he said. “That’s what I’d like to tell them.”

    if they’ve really left the country, especially for latin america, they may never be found, daniel will never be treated, and will die. then what happens to colleen?

    does she stay in hiding forever, not wanting to admit his death, and leave her 7 other kids without a mom?

    does she return to the states, either lie and say daniel recovered and is living abroad, or admit he died, face legal action either way and again leave 7 other kids, a husband, and a farm abandoned?

    social services really needs to check on those other children and see how this woman was raising them, as it seems she’s not any kind of responsible parent.

  116. #116 Joe
    May 20, 2009

    “Actually, I’m probably going to get into huge trouble by saying this, but I have serious problems letting 13-year-old girls choose to have an abortion without parental permission if they want it.

    Posted by: Orac | May 19, 2009 6:02 PM”

    There are too many imponderables. Parents can be irrational, as can be court-appointed guardians. And then there are precocious children, retarded children, uneducated children and those who just have a good instinct. Then you have the problem of the age demarcation, when one celebrates one’s 18th birthday, one is not significantly different from the day before.

    On the other hand, a pregnant 13-yo is a train-wreck in progress. It’s happening, one only hopes the damage is minimal, or minimized. If a 13-yo girl doesn’t want to give birth, I don’t think any other opinion matters.

    I would be more worried about the child, or her parents, that think pregnancy a ticket to the “joys” of motherhood and adulthood. Or the travails of motherhood for anyone who transgresses the social mores.

    Let me unequivocally go on record: I am glad that my youngest niece is 27, and I won’t face this problem.

  117. #117 Sascha
    May 20, 2009

    Flex,

    I was being more general and meant to include Europe and Canada, my use of “Western” did not refer to the “Far West” but rather the “Western World”. We’re not all Americans here.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t US constitutional law, much as any other jurisdiction’s constitutional law, place limits on how far the state can restrict an individual’s rights? Restricting a minor’s rights to make his own health care choices is a restriction of his rights. These rights would generally be the right to life, the right to privacy and the right to due process. Wasn’t Roe v. Wade partly argued from the right to privacy?

    I should think that Constitutional law is very relevant to Daniel’s case. The judge’s order is in fact an application of the principle of due process, is it not? The question is not rhetorical, my knowledge of US constitutional law is meagre).

    The only reason that adults have an absolute right to make their health care choices, is because they are capable of discernment. They have the maturity necessary to weigh the facts relevant to the choice they are going to make and they can give “informed consent” which is nothing else than the exercise of one’s free will.

    Adults that are not capable of discernment, for reason’s of insanity, lack of maturity, or any other reason that might reduce the cognitive skills, will not be able to give informed consent and the decisions will have to be taken by their legal guardian.

    The age of consent greatly limits a minor’s rights, but it does not annul them completely. If the minor is capable of discernment, then he should have the same rights as an adult in the matters that go to the core of his constitutional rights.

    Were Daniel capable of fully understanding the extent of his disease, the treatment options as laid out by his physician, the risks and benefits of each treatment option as well as the consequences resulting from his decision, then he should be allowed to make that decision for himself. In Daniel’s case the judge did not find him competent enough to meet that test.

  118. #118 Phoenix Woman
    May 20, 2009

    The other problem with Lee’s using the 13-year-old pregnant straw girl is that in many situations, the people that are the likeliest to make her have the child are in fact her parents, and she may well have been raped by her father, brother or other male relative. In other words, the authorities would be stepping in to take the girl away from her parents anyway. (See also: Josef Fritzl.)

  119. #119 goatgirl
    May 20, 2009

    They also may be in the company of Billy Best, “the boy who ran away from chemo.”

    http://www.startribune.com/local/45489212.html?elr=KArksLckD8EQDUoaEyqyP4O:DW3ckUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aU1yDEmP:QMDCinchO7DU

    Do the Hausers have no friends who are supporting them? I think it’s really sad that the mom is turning to the likes of Susan Daya and Billy Best. These people are total strangers and they’re playing her like a violin.

    I have a feeling that the dynamics of this particular family may have been a social-services intervention waiting to happen. If it wasn’t this, it would have been something else sooner or later.

  120. #120 Calli Arcale
    May 20, 2009

    The story is getting weirder and weirder. But that said….

    social services really needs to check on those other children and see how this woman was raising them, as it seems she’s not any kind of responsible parent.

    Posted by: luna1580@gmail.com | May 20, 2009 3:00 PM

    I wouldn’t want to leap to any conclusions. I doubt the mother has considered the consequence of abandoning the family, and it doesn’t seem as if it’s something she’s been planning a long time, given that it seems to have surprised the father. (If he’s pleading for them to come back, he wasn’t expecting her absence to be a long one.) It’s a panic move. The question is whether she’ll make things worse before she comes to her senses (assuming she ever does).

    I do agree that they need to make some very tactful welfare checks on the rest of the family. There are a lot of kids, and a dad with a lot of responsibilities, that are going to need some kind of outside support if the mom doesn’t come back. Being a single parent is tough.

  121. #121 vin
    May 20, 2009

    To all of you who have demonized Daniel and his mother for refusing chemo treatment, I say what about the patient’s and parents’ right to choose an alternative mode of treatment? Daniel and his mother probably have heard all the horror stories concerning Chemo drugs and their inneffectiveness.
    Who loves the child more, the parent or some judge who is ruling in favor of Big Pharma? The pharmaceutical industry makes billions on cancer and won’t allow real alternative treatments in the U.S. such as those which exist elsewhere.

  122. #122 dean
    May 20, 2009

    Terri, I haven’t seen anyone call the family hicks because they live on a dairy farm – you’re right, that wouldn’t be fair.

    However, you do make some incredibly stupid, false, comments.

    1) Homeopathy & Wholestic medicine is NOT quackery. It has the longest documented history of ANY practice to date!

    I could mention one practice that probably has a longer history, but it is neither medical nor appropriate for this topic. However, homeopathy and wholestic (sic) are quakery, as has been demonstrated hundreds of times. To think anything else is to deny reality.

    2) here have been competant, successful, adult Dr.’s who have cured their cancer with alternative methods who then afterwards were legally silenced!

    Here is the bullshit. Try to provide evidence of a dr who has been legally silenced, or proof that any of these “alternative” methods was responsible for a cure.

    Final comment: it was mentioned above that “the plural of anecdote is data” – FALSE – I can’t tell you how often I stress that to my statistics students. Usually the plural of anecdote is “made up crap”.

  123. #123 rrt
    May 20, 2009

    Calli:

    Thanks for mentioning the B5 ep Believers. One of the best standalone eps of the show, and first season no less. It was very much on my mind here, but I hesitated to raise it since it’s not completely analogous. The religion of the parents in that ep was “genuine,” in that they not only believed it devoutly (I’m not so sure about the Hausers), it was very mainstream in their culture and didn’t have the shady, snake-oil-business baggage of the Nemenhah. Maybe more importantly, both the parents and the child fully understood the situation. They all knew very well what was going to happen without surgery. The only bone of contention between the players was the validity of the parents’ and child’s belief that the child (Shaun, named subconsciously for the writer’s son, iirc) would lose his soul if operated on.

    Originally I hated this ep as I thought it a cheap “ripped from the headlines!” hack and didn’t watch it closely. A friend encouraged me to watch it carefully…after which I came to love it, and Franklin came to e my favorite character–not because I necessarily agreed with him, but because he stayed on-character throughout. The writers didn’t compromise him, even in the lessons he learned…he learned them in his own way. I admired the writing and acting it took to make that character work.

  124. #124 Raging Bee
    May 20, 2009

    …I say what about the patient’s and parents’ right to choose an alternative mode of treatment?

    What about the child’s right to be cared for by competent adults when he can’t care for himself? What about the parents’ OBLIGATION to do what is best for their children, whether or not their pre-existing beliefs agree with the relevant facts of the case?

  125. #125 Flex
    May 20, 2009

    Sascha wrote, “Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t US constitutional law, much as any other jurisdiction’s constitutional law, place limits on how far the state can restrict an individual’s rights?”

    Again, I’m not a lawyer, but as far as I understand it there is a difference between the law as defined by the text of the federal constitution and the body of case law which is called constitutional law because it rests on cases based in on interpretations of the federal constitution.

    In the example given by Lee at 51 above, it appears to me that he is explicitly arguing that the 10th amendment to the US federal constitution prohibits the judge from intervening in the decision as to what medical care Daniel’s parents need to provide. This is an appeal to the written text of the US federal constitution and not to the case law which surrounds it. I’ve heard appeals to the 10th amendment used numerous times, almost exclusively from the tin-foil hat brigade. It’s a catch-all claim of government conspiracy to eliminate rights and privileges. Courts rarely find these arguments convincing.

    There is no ‘right to privacy’ in the US federal constitution. The have been various arguments concerning privacy heard by the supreme court of the United States (SCOTUS), and the current consensus is that there is a penumbra of rights which evoke the idea that privacy is guaranteed. Some of the interesting (in a very sick sense) legal opinions of Attorney General Gonzolaz turned on this very point.

    The right to due process under the law is guaranteed by the US federal constitution, but I don’t know that anyone is arguing that the Hauser’s didn’t get due process. So while it is a right which is applicable to the case, I don’t think it can be called a question which needs to be answered.

    Once you get into the case law surrounding the constitution you can find precedents for a large number of situations, including medical interventions. That didn’t appear to be what Lee was invoking.

    As for citizens rights, there are a number explicitly stated in the amendments to the US federal constitution, but I’m unclear about what you mean by how far a state can go to restrict a citizens rights. There are few which are not open to interpretation and most have their limitations defined by case law and precedent rather than explicitly laid out in the constitution.

    For example, our freedom of speech is not unlimited. The limits are defined by constitutional case law, not the US federal constitution itself.

    The right to be secure against unreasonable search and seizure? Very vague; what is unreasonable? The meaning of this one appears to change every 20-40 years.

    Article III is very explicit, “No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war but in a manner to be prescribed by law.” Not very much wiggle room in that one. However, should we enter into a period of perpetual war, congress could pass a law saying every household must barrack a soldier. It isn’t going to happen, but laws are not as clearly defined as people may think.

    Ultimately, I’ve not heard any convincing arguments that this is a case for federal constitutional law. Previous case law, at state and federal level, supports the judges decision. State and federal legislation, as well as case law precedent, gives the judge the power to decide if Daniel is competent to make his own medical decisions. State and federal legislation, as well as case law, allow a judge to determine if the parents are providing appropriate care for Daniel.

    As far as the rights of minors, they are not mentioned in the US federal constitution. I don’t know if any constitutional law deals with the rights of minors, but I suspect it does.

    Dragging the US federal constitution into the argument is unnecessary and irrelevant. For the record, I agree with what you written, I don’t disagree with the sentiment you expressed about US constitutional law, but I was addressing the claim that amendment 10 to the US federal constitution had any application to this case.

    In fact, I really don’t know what the argument is about. Pick one:

    1. The right for parents to do anything they like to their children (i.e. children are the sole property of the parents)?
    2. The right for minors to deny medical treatment (i.e. “vaccinations hurt! I don’t want any more!”)?
    3. A requirement that consent is given to any treatment before it applied (i.e. “that guy just brought into the ER with a ruptured appendix is passed out from shock… I guess we better wait until he wakes up to operate.”)?
    4. That people who are mentally incapable of understanding the consequences of their decisions should still have those decisions followed without question (i.e. “That 10-year-old diabetic is asking for more twinkies… well, he knows the consequences.”)?
    5. The Gub’ment can’t be trusted (“I don’t care if it’s Daniel’s only chance to live, I’m ag’in it because it’s the gub’ment doing it.”)?

    I mean, what exactly is the problem? The only thing I see is that the parents don’t agree with giving Daniel the only treatment which has a proven chance of saving his life.

    The poor kid.

    Why is anybody rooting for the parents?

  126. #126 luna1580
    May 20, 2009

    (120) Calli Arcale-

    that’s why i said “check on” the other children, not “remove the children” or anything like that at this stage. you sort of further proved my point, this does seem indeed to be a rash decision by daniel’s mother, made without thought for how it will affect the rest of her family, herself, or daniel long term. and it’s worth noting that daniel’s doctor has reported he complained of “extreme pain” at his chest port site during their monday visit prior to the flight. the doctor suspected this was caused by the re-grown tumor pushing on the port. how will this be treated “on the run”?

    my whole point was that daniel’s mom was acting rashly, fueled by emotion, so it would be prudent to check if anyone the rest of in her family has been negatively affected by similarly rash and illogical choices she may have made in the past.

    it also couldn’t hurt to check how the father and other children are dealing with the extreme stress and scrutiny of this situation, if they need access to or funding for support or counseling some should be provided that they can utilize if they so choose. those other kids much be scared and confused by all this, and now mom’s gone too.

  127. #127 RMM Barrie
    May 20, 2009

    Vin @121

    horror stories concerning Chemo drugs and their inneffectiveness.

    Go to the current Orac post: Chemotherapy versus death from Cancer; here to make it easy: http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/05/chemotherapy_versus_death_from_cancer.php#more

    Read it all, and then come back. I bet you are smart enough to learn or at least spell ineffectiveness.

  128. #128 Calli Arcale
    May 20, 2009

    Sorry, luna1580, I didn’t mean to come across as if I was trying to contradict you or anything. I just wanted to speak to the same point. This whole story is just agonizing, and I can’t get it out of my head.

    I do sympathize with the parents, and even with the mother. I’ve got a few relatives who are awfully woo-woo, including one who I wouldn’t put past doing something like this if the circumstance arose. (They have been blessed with good health, fortunately. Or unfortunately; after all, the best unintentional proselytizers for alt med are the worried well.) It’s gotta rip your world out to a) hear that your kid has been diagnosed with a terrible cancer, b) see the kid suffer from chemo after watching a relative die while undergoing chemo, and c) later be faced with irrefutable evidence that you subsequently made the wrong decision. I feel very sorry for them all. I think this is going to end in tragedy.

  129. #129 Whitecoat Tales
    May 20, 2009

    @dean
    I’m the one who said the plural of anecdote is data. Apparently I need to be clearer and use a “/sarcasm” tag, I thought this was clear from context since my entire comment was argueing against that point.

    I say what about the patient’s and parents’ right to choose an alternative mode of treatment?

    Dude have you been paying attention at all? there are least 10 comments here, including the link to my post explaining why that argument is bunk. You need to understand something about your treatments to have a “right” to decide that.
    If the family were opting for an alternative treatment that was potentially effective, and they understood what they were talking about, that would be an option.

    They have said that herbs are “100%” effective, proving they don’t understand what they’re talking about. They are refusing a proven, approximately 90% effective therapy, in favor of ineffective herbs.

    @flex
    2, 3, and 4 of what you sayare all basically aspects of informed consent, which is what I would call the guiding principle here. Argument #1 would seem to at least tangentially to informed consent as well, since one of the arguments refuting a parents “absolute right” to decide medical treatment for their child is that this is contingent upon their understanding and being able to give informed consent, rather than a right.

  130. #130 dean
    May 20, 2009

    Whitecoat Tales, I apologize for not picking that up – it has been a LOOOOONG day and I’m just a little slow(er than usual)

  131. #131 Paul
    May 20, 2009

    Lee says:
    what do you call people who want to practice medicine on unwilling patients?

    Pediatricians.

  132. #132 Stu
    May 20, 2009

    I think we have a live one…

    real alternative treatments in the U.S. such as those which exist elsewhere.

    Name one. Just one.

  133. #133 Sascha
    May 20, 2009

    Flex,

    Last post before putting this tangent to sleep. It’s only a case for constitutional law insofar as the constitutional law (including the case law you mention) is ultimately where one finds the necessary guidelines to decide these situations. There is no doubt in my mind that Daniel received due process and that his rights were fully taken into account by the judge.

    I was somewhat perturbed by the impression that some did not consider that a minor may be capable of making his own health care choices. Again just an impression, and probably a misunderstanding. Also, I found the amalgamation of discernment and age of consent disturbing. They do not necessarily coincide.

    I believe that 2 is applicable as long as the consent is informed; even a minor can refuse treatment if he is capable of discernment. 3 has been dealt with in all legal systems that I know of and, certainly in such a litigation happy country as the US, it has been determined how consent can be presumed when it can no longer be given. 4 is just the opposite to 2, in that yes, the wishes of the patient must be respected as long as the consent is informed.

    The fact that a patient’s wishes go against the medical opinions of his care givers does not entail that the patient is incapable of discernment. Informed refusal is part and par of the concept of informed consent. Free will still trumps science, as long as it does not spring forth from ignorance.

    We are all rooting for Daniel and even his parents, hoping they will come to their senses before his life is needlessly wasted by ignorance and naiveté. A less charitable judgement of their motives is constrained by my own ignorance of all the facts of the matter.

  134. #134 Flex
    May 20, 2009

    Sascha wrote, “even a minor can refuse treatment if he is capable of discernment.”

    Yes. I agree with this. If I implied otherwise, I apologize and hopefully my position is a little clearer.

  135. #135 Sascha
    May 20, 2009

    Very clear, I didn’t think you were implying otherwise. I was clarifying mine, thought some might see me defending Lee’s standpoint.

  136. #136 DebinOz
    May 20, 2009

    The last time I took my children to the dentist, there was not one single kid in the waiting room who wanted to be there.

  137. #137 Cat
    May 20, 2009

    I’m coming to this discussion really late. I apologize.

    Lee said: “I would say my most hated cancer is ovarian cancer. Note that about 1,500 women were killed on 9/11 and we have spent the previously mentioned trillions on revenge and prevention. Every year 15,000 or so American women die of ovarian cancer – so likely over 100,000 since 9/11. I don’t note anybody here crying about that moral dilemma, just about imposing their will on one little boy who wants to suffer in peace.”

    People here aren’t crying about spending trillions on a foreign war and Homeland Security because that’s not what this blog topic is about. It’s about a boy too young to make his own medical decisions and a mother who is killing him by refusing proven treatment in favor of unproven treatment.

    Want to hear crying?

    On Monday, I discovered my mother likely has brain metastases from ovarian cancer. We will find out soon when she has an MRI. Her cancer was Stage IV when they found it and she has lived an extra two years despite it — thanks to chemotherapy. The side-effects were controlled so well that she has been able to work nearly every single day since her surgical debulking. Forty hours a week! For two years! While undergoing chemotherapy! Gasp!

    I’m sick of people in these threads talking about chemotherapy like it’s the worst thing in the world, a horrible poison that will kill you or make you wish you were dead. Sure, she got tired, she had a funny taste in her mouth, she lost her hair, she had to have immune-boosting shots and some transfusions. In all, not so horrible for a woman with extremely advanced cancer. She continued to work, shop, walk her dog, and so on. Her only compromise to cancer has been to move to a single floor apartment.

    With her days on this earth now surely numbered, she is adding to the clinical data that we have regarding Avastin and metastatic ovarian cancer. From her body may come answers that give new life to others.

    Our views on chemotherapy are antiquated. We don’t freak out about organ transplants, despite the insane risks, because we know the chance to save a life is worth the risk. Why do we have such stupid notions about the treatments that make tumors go away? Is it just because people don’t like to barf? They have very good pills for that now. Mom didn’t barf once.

  138. #138 vin
    May 20, 2009

    RMM Barrie @ 127

    I glanced at http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/05/chemotherapy_versus_death_from_cancer.php#more

    “In other words, the promise of ACCs is a lie.” Just the same as the promise of Chemo & Radiation is a lie.

    After watching my sister-in-law succumb to death after treatment with both “traditional modalities, I still would prefer to take my chances with alternative treatment.

    Big Pharma runs the medical industry…profit not humanitarianism is the motive.

  139. #139 DebinOz
    May 20, 2009

    Cat,

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  140. #140 Whitecoat Tales
    May 20, 2009

    “In other words, the promise of ACCs is a lie.” Just the same as the promise of Chemo & Radiation is a lie.

    So… you cherry picked a line, and reversed it because you think that makes you clever. *slow clap* Bravo sir, bravo.
    For Daniel Hauser, his initial chance at a cure with chemo was around 90%. Few things as life threatening as cancer can be cured with a 90% success rate.
    That means that the promise of chemo and radiation is NOT a lie.

    After watching my sister-in-law succumb to death after treatment with both “traditional modalities, I still would prefer to take my chances with alternative treatment.

    I’m very sorry that your sister-in-law had cancer. I’m even more apologetic that she passed away because of it. Cancer is a mean, nasty disease.

    That however, doesn’t justify your opinion. We were just complaining about how the plural of anecdote is not data. YOU haven’t even provided plural, you just have one anecdote.

    So, you’d rather take a low percentage chance (or in some cases, no chance), with “alternative” therapies that cost money, and aren’t more useful than ANY treatment at all, rather than chemo and radiation that DO help.

    You’re advocating for alternative medicine, which is supplied by Big Supplement, or Big NCAAM if you will – the less ethical analogue of Big Pharma. Big Pharma has to prove that their treatments work, all Big Supplement has to do is say that they haven’t been evaluated by the FDA.

    Realise that those manufacturers are making money too. Lots of money. Money that they DONT have to spend on clinical trials, because they don’t care to prove that their treatments work.

    Big Pharma runs the medical industry…profit not humanitarianism is the motive

    Seriously, I started this comment with sympathy. But now, Screw you man.

    Screw.

    You.

    I’ve spent 4 years in college, 3 in med school so far, just over 1 to go, and will spend 3-6 more years in residency and fellowship after that. Instead of making money in that time, I’ve accumulated almost $150,000 US Dollars in debt.

    I have a degree in engineering, if profit was a significant part of my motive, I’d have started working in engineering and had an additional decade of working at a salary just slightly lower than what what I’ll make as a doctor.

    The average MD had the highschool and college grades to do other things, that WOULD lead to much bigger profits, without having to work 80-100 hour workweeks, being on call overnight every 4th night, seeing people DIE regularly, in those situations you can’t fix, dealing with an endless stream of paperwork, and dealing with insurance companies, administrators, angry patients, violent patients, drug addicted patients, pain med seeking patients, and lastly, ignorant people such as yourself.

    We do what we do because we want to help people. This is my motivation in discouraging you from using alternative medicine. Thats what makes it worth me getting up 6 or 7 days a week at 4 in the god-damn morning and getting home at 8 at night, not a (currently nonexistant) paycheck at the end of the month.

    So stop telling me that all I’m doing is trying to make a profit, you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

  141. #141 Shay
    May 20, 2009

    @Vin: “Just the same as the promise of Chemo & Radiation is a lie.”

    My parents made the informed decision to “poison” my younger brother with chemo when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1966. Today he’s alive, he’s cancer-free, he leads a normal existence; although he had to cut back on the ice hockey after he fractured a bone in his neck last year.

    Our family will take traditional modalities over voodoo any day.

  142. #142 Ryan
    May 20, 2009

    Now you look here Mr. I have 3yrs of medical school. I dont give a damn if your the pope himself. YOU DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO TELL SOMEONE THEY CANNOT TAKE THEIR OWN LIFE. OK? As for anyone else on here or anywhere else that is standing by this OUTRAGEOUS RULING. The boy plainly stated that if they tried to force him into taking the so-called treatment that he would fight them tooth and nail. I dont believe that this country is holding up its end of the bargain with our freedoms. I FOR ONE AM VERY FUCKING PROUD OF THIS MOTHER WHO BELIEVES IN HER SON’S RIGHTS TO THE EXTENT OF SAYING FUCK THAT JUDGE! My question to you supporters of this is… What if I was holding you down FORCING A DRUG DOWN YOUR THROAT THAT YOU SAID YOU DIDNT WANT, WAT WOULD YOU DO? SIT THERE AND TAKE IT. YOU PEOPLE MAKE ME SICK!!! YOUR LAYING DOWN EVERYTHING THAT THIS COUNTRY WAS FOUNDED ON. AND FOR WAT REASON? TO MAKE A DECISION ABOUT A CHILD THATS NOT YOURS!!! THANK YOU!!! IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ARGUE SOME MORE MY E-MAIL IS…drumer212005@yahoo.com

    And to you Judge Rodenberg. I hope the devil finds you a nice home in Hell. Cause thats exactly where you are heading!!!

  143. #143 DJ
    May 20, 2009

    I glanced at http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/05/chemotherapy_versus_death_from_cancer.php#more

    Do more than glance, read and understand.

    “In other words, the promise of ACCs is a lie.” Just the same as the promise of Chemo & Radiation is a lie.

    Evidence? Citation please.

    After watching my sister-in-law succumb to death after treatment with both “traditional modalities, I still would prefer to take my chances with alternative treatment.

    I am sorry for the loss to your family. Anecdote does not trump gathered data. What you prefer you may do, if you have an informed choice to make. This boy was not making an informed choice.

    Ugh. I can’t believe anyone is in favor of these people killing their kid. Stop the insanity!

  144. #144 RMM Barrie
    May 20, 2009

    Vin @ 138

    I am very sorry to hear about your sister-in-law. Without detail it is hard to assess what went wrong, but it also does not change a thing.

    Big Pharma runs the medical industry

    Wrong, read some annual reports. Pharma runs on new product that is in the pipeline. Without new patent protection, or a blockbuster drug they go out of business. All large Pharma operates worldwide, in different market and regulatory conditions. I live in Canada where the government sets drug prices under a set of rules, and they do not get to consumer advertise, so here, no-one makes the observation of anyone running the medical industry.

    profit not humanitarianism is the motive

    This one I partially agree. Certainly the operating guys that report to the board and shareholders try to maximize profit. However, the vast majority of these people truly love what their product development and product can do. Talk to them about the quarter results and you get a professional response. Ask them about the newest product and they come alive. The guys in the lab are driven. Go back and read Abel Pharmboy at 5 in the other thread.

    Just the same as the promise of Chemo & Radiation is a lie

    Sometimes we hope against hope as there are some cancers where literally not much can be done. Others, if early, success is pretty good. In the case of Daniel, when he first started treatment, his chances were certainly in the 90% range. However, we cannot forget that does not help the other 10%.

    Be glad to comment further, if you think it helpful.

  145. #145 D. C. Sessions
    May 20, 2009

    I have a degree in engineering, if profit was a significant part of my motive, I’d have started working in engineering and had an additional decade of working at a salary just slightly lower than what what I’ll make as a doctor.

    Let me second that from the other side: I’m the engineer who makes more than most MDs, and didn’t have to sacrifice a decade of engineering earnings or roll up giant debt. I’m home almost every night for dinner, and if I spend the night awake it’s because I have a problem I feel like working on — and I get to do it from my comfy chair.

    When I choose to do the volunteer emergency medic thing, I’m working with a bunch of other engineers, dentists, construction workers, firefighters — and doctors. After working hell weeks (one in ER) these characters are so crazy that they turn around and do some more of it, unpaid, just to take care of the public.

    Not a one of them I’ve ever worked with you couldn’t trust with everthing you’ve got. There may be bad apples in the barrel, but it’s a damn big barrel and precious few spotty apples.

    WcT: keep it up, kid. We need more like you.

  146. #146 Orac
    May 20, 2009

    Re: #142

    Wow. Someone needs to get out the dart gun. The ALL CAPS alone sure do emphasize the point, don’t they?

  147. #147 Biotunes
    May 20, 2009

    Parents are the guardians. End of story.

    Kids need to be protected from parents that are actively hurting them. Refusing an UNGUARANTEED treatment is not the same thing. A lot of people qualify their views based on the ‘effectiveness’ of the treatment, but percentages are a blunt instrument wielded inappropriately by doctors. They refer to population-level responses, but say nothing about how an individual will respond.

    I know this as both a cancer patient and a biology Ph.D. who can read medical papers. The data for most cancer treatments are anything but clear-cut.

    This is nothing but a slippery slope toward taking away more and more rights, including the right of someone to make his/her own decision about his/her own body. If you support abortion rights, you are a hypocrite if you think treatment should be forced on this kid.

  148. #148 ababa
    May 20, 2009

    Biotunes, so if an Alzheimer’s patient’s guardian convinces them that severing their own arm is good for their health then so be it?

    The kid can’t read. The kid’s parent have grossly mis-educated him, and not just about cancer treatment. This isn’t just a case of different beliefs. It is a clear cut pattern of child abuse and neglect. Then she takes off leaving her other 7 kids to suffer. That was the key point to the judge, whether he felt the kid was capable of understanding the consequences of his “rights” – and he could not.

    Are you suggesting that it is OK to leave him to his parent’s whim given the history?

  149. #149 Orac
    May 21, 2009

    Biotunes,

    The post you link to is a post is about breast cancer and adjuvant chemotherapy. You’re also rather off in the conclusions that you make in that you exaggerate uncertainty, appear to have a very limited view of the literature, and have misinterpreted the significance of the results of Ejlertsen et al (the ovarian ablation study). Indeed, your post might make good blog fodder for me to explain why.

    In any case, Daniel does not have breast cancer, and there’s no reason to think that data from ER-positive breast cancer treated adjuvantly after surgery have anything whatsoever to do with the clinical situation Daniel finds himself in. What he needs is not adjuvant chemotherapy for a tumor that has been resected. He has Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a hematological malignancy. For him, chemotherapy and radiation are the primary treatment for his cancer. The bottom line is that you’re comparing apples and oranges and extrapolating uncertainties from one disease (breast cancer) to another disease (Hodgkin’s lymphoma) to which those uncertainties do not apply. If you don’t realize that difference and think that uncertainties in who benefits and how much from adjuvant chemotherapy in ER-positive breast cancer translate into uncertainties in the treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma with chemotherapy and radiation, I have serious doubts about your ability to read the oncological literature, your PhD notwithstanding.

    In Daniel’s case the percentages are so clearly in favor of chemotherapy that it is about as close to a no-brainer as we get in oncology: virtually zero chance of survival without it, and around an 85% chance with it, maybe somewhat less, given that the tumor has had nearly three months without therapy to regrow, possibly with resistant cells. This is not talking about absolute benefits of around an additional 3% in survival, which is typical for early stage breast cancer treated with adjuvant chemotherapy. We’re probably talking a difference between therapy and no therapy of anywhere from 75-90%.

  150. #150 Orac
    May 21, 2009

    By the way, it looks as though Daniel is on his way to Tijuana (what a shock):

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/05/chemotherapy_refusenik_daniel_hauser_on.php

    I hope they find him before he tries to cross the border. He and his mother could get into serious trouble if they try to cross the desert to avoid checkpoints and the Border Patrol.

  151. #151 Militant Agnostic
    May 21, 2009

    Whitecoat tales – my doctor is an unfrocked electrical engineer. He can’t be in it for the money.

    I find it interesting to compare him to my wife’s “integrative” doctor:

    My doctor practices within the Canadian publicly funded health care system – my wife’s doctor pays fast and loose with Canada Health act and manages to bill (at an exhorbitant rate) a lot of things outside of medicare.

    My doctor first practiced in rural Saskatchewan and then worked at the 8th & 8th Clinic (a clinic that treats a lot of street people who amy or may not have Alberta Health Care numbers) in Downtown Calgary before setting up his own practice. My wife’s doctor specializes in the wealthy worried well.

  152. #152 Mark
    May 21, 2009

    The readership here doesn’t spend much time on the non-academic interwebs, it seems. Guys, Lee is the classic troll. Key to watch for: multiple references to such off topic firestarters such as abortion, nazi-ism (look how he first referenced nuremburg and then came right out and talked about medical nazis, fascism, etc.) His blatant disregard for science is not the mark of an ingnorant that needs to be corrected, it is the mark of someone who knows what Pharyngula readers get up-in-arms about, and is inciting an e-riot on purpose.

    Anyway,
    Someone linked the court judgment. This says it best, really.

    “Dr Bostrom and Rodriguez also testified that if Daniel’s cancer goes untreated, his prognosis goes from a 90% chance of cure, to a 95% chance of death. Daniel’s parents’ decision to place him at a 95% chance of death, when the medically-indicated treatment provides him with a 90% chance of cure, is clear medical neglect… the most recent x-ray is evidence that the tumor is growing and placing Daniel in a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical treatment. Failure to provide immediate medical treatment is medical neglect.”

  153. #153 Chris
    May 21, 2009

    Mark:

    The readership here doesn’t spend much time on the non-academic interwebs, it seems.

    I’ll accept that as a compliment!

  154. #154 Lee
    May 21, 2009

    Mark: Guys, Lee is the classic troll.

    A nice ad hominen attack – a sure sign of itellectual rigor.

    Actually this is the first time I have ever seen this blog or even one like it. I have high regard for science, and you of course know nothing about me or my motive.

    I think science should offer its benefits to a willing world. But science is not a real thing that offers or provides or forces. It is people who provide its benefits or force them on others. Do I use extreme examples? Sure I do, but they are not invented, mankind is not always nice, and when malign intent meets science it can be really bad.

    Daniel said no, but his no was uniformed, ignorant, so we’ll just change that no to the yes he would have given if he had understood like we do. It’s fairly clear this sentiment holds sway. I think it should not.

    Daniel said he would fight, but instead he ran. Is that the mark of a liar or a coward? I don’t think so. Perhaps he correctly judged that he could not successfully win that fight. So he fled, in fear for his life, from his home, his government, and perhaps his country. Chased away by those who would do him good – hunted nationwide.

    Does this look good to you soldiers of science? People not quite so wise as you fear force, and they rightly fear it. They wonder, what is wrong with that cure, if you have to force it on someone. The good can win these battles without force. And will be stronger for it. People are more willing to trust that hich they choose. Give us back the choice. You are the smart ones, you are the leaders – so lead, instead of dictate. Teach instead of compel.

  155. #155 Chris
    May 21, 2009

    Danial will die.

    How is it presenting the real data “forcing”? (you will note that there is a big difference between science and law)

    Why is it the fault of those who push for science, when it was his parents, especially the mother, who ignored the data?

    Lee:

    Daniel said no, but his no was uniformed, ignorant, so we’ll just change that no to the yes he would have given if he had understood like we do. It’s fairly clear this sentiment holds sway. I think it should not.

    What part of the fact that this young man is severely learning disabled and does not understand anything about the situation is unclear to you? Are so stupid to think that a developmentally disabled child has the capacity to understand the dire situation that his health is in? All he can thing about was how he felt with one treatment, he cannot fathom what is happening to him how: his tumor is back bigger and better to kill him, even though the first treatment shrunk it, showing that chemotherapy worked and his mother is denying him life by letting him skip treatment due to temporary side effects. Ignoring the fact that the permanent “side effect” from the ineffective “natural” methods is permanent death.

  156. #156 clinteas
    May 21, 2009

    Orac,

    the boy was homeschooled,is illiterate,is dependent on his retarded mother who has now abducted him,and is in no way a “refusenik”.
    I wish you would at least sometimes think or get the facts before you post rubbish here.

  157. #157 Natalie
    May 21, 2009

    People not quite so wise as you fear force, and they rightly fear it. They wonder, what is wrong with that cure, if you have to force it on someone. The good can win these battles without force. And will be stronger for it. People are more willing to trust that hich they choose. Give us back the choice. You are the smart ones, you are the leaders – so lead, instead of dictate. Teach instead of compel.

    So shall we stop prosecuting people for child abuse or neglect, then? If treating your kids well is so good, why do some people have to be compelled to do so? We should just teach them why not abusing or neglecting kids is better, and that will solve the problem!

    You’re a moron, Lee.

  158. #158 pg
    May 21, 2009

    Seems as though I’ve wandered into a den of vipers after reading some of the comments to this story. I can’t believe so many have fallen for the “gov’t, medical establishment, pharm industry, judge” can do no wrong.
    Taking away the right of a patient to choose a different treatment is bordering on dictatorial. I would guess that most of you are in favor of women’s right to choose abortion, so that would make you hypocrites also.
    Such audacity of many of you who claim to be so learned shows that your training will certainly lead you to copy the professional arrogance of too many in medicine today, who look upon themselves as saviors of the sick, but who refuse to acknowledge that there may be another way.
    So sorry I wandered here by accident not realizing that it’s a private club and folks of a different persuasion are bullied. I won’t be back else I might vomit!

  159. #159 Orac
    May 21, 2009

    Gotta love those hit-and-run commenters who post one “screw you all” comment and then so bravely run away.

  160. #160 dean
    May 21, 2009

    You are much more restrained than I would be Orac.
    Forgive the awkwardness of this question, but is there any way to give an estimate of how long this boy can go without treatment before his chances begin to plummet? (If I missed it, or if this is such a resoundingly stupid question it doesn’t deserve an answer, let me know.)

  161. #161 Lee
    May 21, 2009

    Natalie: You’re a moron, Lee.

    Another clever ad hominem attack.

    When you get to define neglect as not using your treatment then I think something is askew. Had Daniel been left alone at home with his obviously loving parents, he would likely have gotten sicker and sicker and might eventually try your treatment again. Now he’s probably in Mexico out of your helpful reach and will likely die. His mother and father will be considered criminals and their family scattered. Is that a victory for your side? It shows the terrible consequences of avoiding your good intentions.

    Freedom to choose is the issue here, and if you get to make the choice, the rest of us aren’t free. We’re just one illness away from falling under your control. Why do you think there is such opposition to science?

    Chris, it seems you are projecting your son’s condition on Daniel. You say your son sees things in a fantastical way. The transcript of Daniel and the judge does not suggest a fantastical view of the world to me. He seems to have made a bad choice of medical decisions and he has joined a religion out of the mainstream – I am not sure when that beccame wrong in America and needful of government intervention. Daniel can’t read does not imply Daniel can’t think. And when he has trouble making decisions his parents help him make them just as you help your son.

    Orac – great blog, phenomenal amount of smart thinking people here. Strange that you are the only one to say: ‘Maybe I was wrong.’ That is the open-midedness needed here, and that I think should define science. It seems you think you were wrong in the opposite direction from what I think, but the principle is important.

  162. #162 dean
    May 21, 2009

    Lee, Natalie’s comment can’t be an attack when it is true.

  163. #163 D. C. Sessions
    May 21, 2009

    Lee, Natalie’s comment can’t be an attack when it is true.

    Sure it can. However, Lee shares John Scudamore’s reversal of argumentum ad hominem:

    * Properly argumentum ad hominem is “you are an idiot, so what you say is nonsense.”
    * Reversed, “what you say is nonsense, so you must be an idiot.”

    Lee comes in spouting gibberish, gets called on the gibberish, spouts more despite having been corrected, and gets called an idiot. At which point, Lee declares hirself vindicated because someone called hir an idiot.

    The trouble with this argument is that it would imply that all of the idiots on Earth must always be right!

  164. #164 Chris
    May 21, 2009

    Lee, my son could read when he was thirteen, and yet he is still severely learning disabled. I cannot help that my trying to explain the what the level of disability of a child has an effect on his ability to understand the consequences is totally lost on you.

    It seems that you are in the same boat as Young Master Hauser and my son with your lack of understanding of the basics.

  165. #165 Natalie
    May 21, 2009

    It absolutely was an attack, as I think Lee is a moron. However, D.C. is right that it’s not an ad hominem argument. The argument was reductio ad absurdum, if I recall my single ethics class correctly. It was also not clever, so I’m not sure if Lee was intending to be sarcastic or truly believes me to be clever.

    When you get to define neglect as not using your treatment then I think something is askew.

    Chemo is not “my” treatment – I am not a doctor. It is, however, presently the standard of care for his condition. How is providing one’s child the standard of care not neglect?

    Incidentally, defining failure to seek medical treatment as neglect isn’t my sole opinion, it’s the opinion of the law and, I venture to guess, most of society. Since you are the person arguing against what most people consider to be right here, perhaps you could support your assertions with some actual arguments, rather than appealing to what you see as the negative consequences.

    Had Daniel been left alone at home with his obviously loving parents, he would likely have gotten sicker and sicker and might eventually try your treatment again.

    So it’s okay to allow his parents to deny him medical care because they might eventually allow it? WTF? To reduce to the absurd again, shall we allow him parents to starve him because he might eventually lose enough weight that they’ll come around and feed him again? Should we allow his parents to beat him because they might eventually hurt him so badly that they’ll realize beating him is wrong?

    Why do you feel that denying him medical treatment is different than denying him food or deliberately injuring him?

    Now he’s probably in Mexico out of your helpful reach and will likely die. His mother and father will be considered criminals and their family scattered.

    Once again, we do not make legal or moral decisions based on the reaction that people might have to being punished for their transgressions or compelled to do something moral that they refuse to do for an unacceptable reason.

    Is that a victory for your side? It shows the terrible consequences of avoiding your good intentions.

    I can’t parse what you mean here. What shows the consequences of avoiding good intentions? What are those terrible consequences? And how does anyone’s good intentions cause the terrible consequences?

  166. #166 Natalie
    May 21, 2009

    Sorry, forgot to point out that Lee didn’t actually address my point in 157, perfering to dismiss in incorrectly as ad hominem. So, Lee, perhaps you’d like to actually address the point?

  167. #167 Lee
    May 21, 2009

    Dean and DC, you seem to think that Daniel is incompetent – I disagree. That doesn’t seem gibberish to me. You seem to think that if Daniel is incompetent then you are right to make his decision for him. I do not think you are right to do so. That doesn’t seem gibberish either. When I say ‘you’, I perhaps unfairly lump togher all who think like that.

    I do not dispute that you have the power of the law on your side, I just think you should not, so I argue against it. Things that are correct – like the recommended treatment for Daniel, should not be forced in the same that things that are not correct must be forced.

    Have some faith that good will prevail. I think there is a sizable minority of Americans who still believe freedom is more important than ‘informed consent’ particularly if it is turned into forced consent as here. That doesn’t make us luddites or idiots – we just don’t agree with you. and don’t want our judgment supplanted by yours. I stand with Daniel, not because I think his choice is right, but because you weaken my rights to choose when you negate his.

  168. #168 dean
    May 21, 2009

    “I stand with Daniel, not because I think his choice is right, but because you weaken my rights to choose when you negate his.”

    I don’t know whether you really believe this, or are simply blowing smoke. I’m assuming you are an adult – if you are ever unfortunate enough to be as ill as Daniel, you will be free to accept or decline any manner of treatment you choose. This case had nothing to do with your rights, and no amount of slinging “slippery slope”, “nazi excesses”, or “he is too competent to decide because I’m ignoring all the evidence” changes that.

  169. #169 Lee
    May 21, 2009

    It took a little research, but it appears that I have joined the debate between individual rights and communitarianism.

    And I now see why you are so exercised. Your orthodoxy is being challenged and in some cases pushed back. And the quite rapid increase in holistic and alternative treatment is driving you nuts. I think these alternative approches are crazy, but I take satisfaction from the grief they cause you. To me they are just other people’s choices – to you they are heresy.

  170. #170 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 21, 2009

    And I now see why you are so exercised. Your orthodoxy is being challenged and in some cases pushed back. And the quite rapid increase in holistic and alternative treatment is driving you nuts. I think these alternative approches are crazy, but I take satisfaction from the grief they cause you. To me they are just other people’s choices – to you they are heresy.

    Quite the disjointed thought process there.

  171. #171 ildi
    May 21, 2009

    it appears that I have joined the debate between individual rights and communitarianism

    I don’t think communitarianism means what you think it does:

    an ideology that emphasizes the responsibility of the individual to the community and the social importance of the family unit.

    I think these alternative approches are crazy, but I take satisfaction from the grief they cause you.

    Definitely a troll.

  172. #172 Whitecoat Tales
    May 21, 2009

    @Lee

    Dean and DC, you seem to think that Daniel is incompetent – I disagree

    You can’t disagree. See, there is a rigorous definition of competance. A rigorous definition of informed consent. It’s not something people can really disagree on, it’s an objective thing. “You’re disagreement” shows that you lack even the most basic understanding of the concepts involved.

    heresy.

    dude you keep spouting crap about that. Yet you still haven’t responded to my argument about Hauser’s needing to be informed without attacking a strawman. And you still haven’t attempted to address the fact that this is child neglect.

    @Ryan

    Wow. Amazing.

    Now you look here Mr. I have 3yrs of medical school. I dont give a damn if your the pope himself. YOU DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO TELL SOMEONE THEY CANNOT TAKE THEIR OWN LIFE. OK?

    If Daniel said “I understand that chemotherapy has a 90% cure rate, and that by not taking chemotherapy, I’m probably going to die.” I would stand by him. He is more than welcome to take his own life. That’s not what’s happening here. You’d know that if you’d read any of this discussion at all.

    I FOR ONE AM VERY FUCKING PROUD OF THIS MOTHER WHO BELIEVES IN HER SON’S RIGHTS TO THE EXTENT OF SAYING FUCK THAT JUDGE!

    You clearly haven’t even read the news articles. The mother didn’t believe in her sons rights. She understood that he didn’t enjoy round 1 of chemo, and was a member of a cult that is against conventional medicine. Then instead of trying to weigh the risks and benefits of the therapy, refused therapy. That’s like letting your 10 year old not take antibiotics because they don’t want a shot, or to take pills. It’s not about rights. It’s about understanding.

    My question to you supporters of this is… What if I was holding you down FORCING A DRUG DOWN YOUR THROAT THAT YOU SAID YOU DIDNT WANT, WAT WOULD YOU DO? SIT THERE AND TAKE IT. YOU PEOPLE MAKE ME SICK!!! YOUR LAYING DOWN EVERYTHING THAT THIS COUNTRY WAS FOUNDED ON. AND FOR WAT REASON? TO MAKE A DECISION ABOUT A CHILD THATS NOT YOURS!!! THANK YOU!!! IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ARGUE SOME MORE MY E-MAIL IS…drumer212005@yahoo.com

    Dude. Take a valium or something. Maybe do some yoga, or take a nap.

  173. #173 Sascha
    May 21, 2009

    I don’t understand where Lee gets the idea that we are not free to make our own choices. Adults are presumed to be competent enough to weigh for themselves the benefits and perils of the various treatments available. They are presumed to have the capacity of discernment. The options one can choose from would include all the alternative treatments one can imagine, homeopathy, acupuncture, vitamins, crystals, even wearing pyramids on one’s head if one is so inclined.

    It takes a judicial decision to reverse that presumption of competence and I believe the bar is kept usually very low. The vast majority of people – even those who daily prove Darwin wrong – will fall on the competent side of the test and therefore are free to choose whatever treatment takes their fancy. If their choices cause them to harm themselves, so be it.

    Society doesn’t stop one from smoking, drinking, over- and undernourishing oneself, jumping off towers with a parachute, rolling down hills in shopping carts, lighting firecrackers secured to forearms, etc… Society only steps in to stop one from hurting others. (I’m deliberately ignoring the aberration which is the criminalization of drug consumers who are hurting no one but themselves- this should be a health care matter, not one for the courts.)

    I wonder where Lee lives, that might give us a clue as to the despotic regime that forces him to indulge in needless toxins. The poor man is forced to stuff himself with greasy hamburgers and french (sorry, freedom) fries, chips , dips and candy bars, pots and pots of coffee, pouring liters of beer and whiskey in his gullet and smoke himself into a dull stupor. Then he must spend hours everyday in mandatory carbon monoxide breathing sessions in slow moving traffic. And finally sitting all day at desks in front of small screens, or slouching on sofas in front of big screens breathing stale, recycled air.

    The horror… the horror.

  174. #174 Natalie
    May 21, 2009

    And I now see why you are so exercised

    Confused – is there an alternative meaning to “exercised” I’m not aware of?

  175. #175 Anon
    May 21, 2009

    The way i see it, letting the parents decide what’s good for the kid is a sure way to make the problem solve itself (in the long run at least) by letting potential treatment refusers see the consequences of their actions, or just by natural selection if even that is not enough.

  176. #176 Marcus Ranum
    May 22, 2009

    profit not humanitarianism is the motive

    The quacks charge hundreds of dollars per hour, or thousands of dollars for their “cures” — does that make them ‘humanitarians’??

    Being a ‘humanitarian’ and not profit-minded is more complicated than just saying “I do this for the good of all mankind.”

  177. #177 toughen up
    May 22, 2009

    The Hauser family are simple farmers who homeschooled their children until Child Protective Services intervened. Daniel was injured at birth when a doctor was delayed in delivering him and he suffered a loss of oxygen. He can read but not at grade level. The family is not opposed to medical treatment per se, but they have decided to seek alternative treatment for this cancer at a clinic in another country. When completed, their fate will be in the hands of Child Protective Services who are circling the family farm as we speak, like vultures waiting for fresh kill. For reasons why we should not ever put kids in the care of CPS – Google child+death+foster care. I support the Hausers and will fight for them if CPS tries to take their children away or terminate their rights or any other such thing. I hope that all of you will join me in doing the same.

  178. #178 toughen up
    May 22, 2009

    The Hauser family are simple farmers who homeschooled their children until Child Protective Services intervened. Daniel was injured at birth when a doctor was delayed in delivering him and he suffered a loss of oxygen. He can read but not at grade level. The family is not opposed to medical treatment per se, but they have decided to seek alternative treatment for this cancer at a clinic in another country. When completed, their fate will be in the hands of Child Protective Services who are circling the family farm as we speak, like vultures waiting for fresh kill. For reasons why we should not ever put kids in the care of CPS – Google child+death+foster care. I support the Hausers and will fight for them if CPS tries to take their children away or terminate their rights or any other such thing. I hope that all of you will join me in doing the same.

  179. #179 toughen up
    May 22, 2009

    The Hauser family are simple farmers who homeschooled their children until Child Protective Services intervened. Daniel was injured at birth when a doctor was delayed in delivering him and he suffered a loss of oxygen. He can read but not at grade level. The family is not opposed to medical treatment per se, but they have decided to seek alternative treatment for this cancer at a clinic in another country. When completed, their fate will be in the hands of Child Protective Services who are circling the family farm as we speak, like vultures waiting for fresh kill. For reasons why we should not ever put kids in the care of CPS – Google child+death+foster care. I support the Hausers and will fight for them if CPS tries to take their children away or terminate their rights or any other such thing. I hope that all of you will join me in doing the same.

  180. #180 toughen up
    May 22, 2009

    The Hauser family are simple farmers who homeschooled their children until Child Protective Services intervened after the doctor reported to them. Daniel was injured at birth when a doctor was delayed in delivering him and he suffered a loss of oxygen. He can read but not at grade level. The family is not opposed to medical treatment per se, but they have decided to seek alternative treatment for this cancer at a clinic in another country. When completed, their fate will be in the hands of Child Protective Services who are circling the family farm as we speak, like vultures waiting for fresh kill. For reasons why we should never put kids in the care of CPS – Google child+death+foster care. I support the Hausers and will fight for them if CPS tries to take their children away or terminate their rights or any other such thing. I hope that all of you will join me in doing the same.

  181. #181 toughen up
    May 22, 2009

    sorry about posting 4 times.

  182. #182 toughen up
    May 22, 2009

    sorry about posting 4 times.

  183. #183 toughen up
    May 22, 2009

    sorry about posting 4 times.

  184. #184 dean
    May 23, 2009

    “I hope that all of you will join me in doing the same.”

    No, sorry toughen up, you may feel that parents have the right to any level of willful neglect of their own children, because it’s better than some hypothetical thing that could happen elsewhere, but that’s not a sane attitude.

    Your comments about the boy’s inability to read – any proof behind your stated cause?

  185. #185 Nancy Michelli
    May 26, 2009

    Obviously this group here has drand the “kool Aid” of mainstream medicince and the pharmaceutical companies. You idiots have no idea what you are talking about. Alternative Medicine has many successful treatments for cancer and other “diseases” which are really just nutritional deficiencies and toxicity. Once you make yourself sick with cancer or other “diseases” alternative treatments are not 100% and NEITHER is chemotherapy or radiation. Chemotherapy basically poisons the whole body and if the cancer doesn’t kill you the chemotherapy eventually will.

    If you really investigate that most doctors who have cancer would NEVER have chemotherapy or radiation. Because they know the truth. Maybe you should do some true research befor spouting the mantra of the phamaceutical companies.

    The fact that this family is being forced to do what someone else chooses (toxic, harmful treatments) for themselves or their child is criminal. This is not Nazi Germany and we don’t have a gestapo state…..or is it?

    We are supposed to have a free country. This is NOT freedom!

    People get a clue!

  186. #186 Orac
    May 26, 2009

    I hereby invoke Godwin’s law and declare this particular thread closed. Please comment further at the most recent Daniel Hauser post, which is here:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/05/good_news_for_daniel_hauser.php

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